San Jose spoiled Chicago's special night honoring two of their all-time greats, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, before the largest crowd of the season as the Sharks edged the Hawks 3-2 at the United Center Friday night.
Patrick Marleau's goal at 14:31 in the 2nd period broke a 2-2 tie and proved to be the game-winner as the apparent tying goal in the final 32 seconds of regulation was disallowed.
After a video review, the officials ruled that Rene Bourque re-directed Dustin Byfuglien's shot into the goal with his glove, much to the dismay of 21,908 fans.
San Jose moved within one point of Pacific Division leading Dallas with its franchise-tying 8th straight win and 6th in a row on the road.
The Hawks had their five-game home ice win string snapped, but remain 8-4 in their last 12 starts and are 6 points out of the last playoff slot in the Western Conference.
The Hawks took the lead at 3:35 into the game on a power play goal by Brent Seabrook, who picked up Patrick Sharp's rebound to fire his 9th of the campaign past Evgeni Nabokov.
San Jose tied the game 17 seconds later when Joe Thornton fed a pass from behind the Chicago net and Jonathan Cheechoo knocked in a short shot for his 22nd goal.
The Sharks took the lead at 12:45 when Thornton set up Kyle McLaren who was streaking in from the blue line to knock in a 10-footer past Patrick Lalime.
The Hawks got a two-man advantage at the 14 minute mark for 56 seconds but failed to get the equalizer.
With less than two minutes to go in the opening period, the Hawks tied the game when rookie Jonathan Toews deflected Duncan Keith's long shot through the pads of Nabokov for his 19th goal of the season.
In the 2nd period, Lalime made two key stops on Cheechoo and another on Devin Setoguchi, but at 14:31 Marleau gave the Sharks the lead. Marleau broke around a Hawk defender to beat Lalime with a 20-footer for his 14th goal.
In the closing seconds of the frame, Adam Burish almost tied it but Nabokov smothered his close-in shot.
Both teams played tight defensively in the final period with Lalime stopping Mike Grier in tight and at the 17 minute mark Nabokov kicked out Sharp's 25-foot drive.
|Patrick Lalime makes a save on the San Jose Sharks' Jonathan Cheechoo during the first period on Friday. The Sharks won, 3-2. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)|
Hawks coach Denis Savard pulled Lalime for an extra attacker in the closing 53 seconds and United Center fans thought their team tied the game on Bourque's shot at 19:28, which was ultimately disallowed.
"The puck was on the walls a lot," Savard said. "We didn't connect on enough tape-to-tape passes. Their forecheck was always in good position. Thornton is a great player, as good as they come. He sure makes things look easy."
San Jose outshot the Hawks 23-19 and were 0-2 on the power play with Chicago 1-5.
The Hawks captured 71% of the faceoffs and outhit the Sharks 28-25. Keith led all skaters with 28+ minutes of ice time as Byflugien and Andrew Ladd each dished out five hits.
Cheechoo led all shooters with five shots.
Chicago forward Ben Eager suffered a shoulder injury in the opening period and did not return to action.
The pre-game ceremonies honoring Hull and Mikita were very emotional as a number of former Hawk teammates of the two Hall of Famers were announced with some of the loudest applause for Kevin Magnuson, son of the late Keith Magnuson.
The Hawks wind up their homestand with a matinee game Sunday against Edmonton at the United Center (2 pm).
AP Notes: The crowd of 21,908 was Chicago's largest this season and sixth sellout, the most the team has had since 2001-02. ... Hull is the Blackhawks' career goals leader with 604, while Mikita holds team records for career points (1,467), assists (926) and games played (1,394). Both starred with the Blackhawks in the 1960s and into the 1970s, and played for Chicago's last Stanley Cup winning team, in 1961. ... Sharks GM Doug Wilson, who played 14 seasons with the Blackhawks - and holds team career records for goals and assists by a defenseman - was part of the pregame ceremony and loudly cheered.
Center Jeremy Roenick: "It was so exciting. I know all those guys; all those guys are so dear to me. I wanted to hug them all and stay there as long as I could. It was spectacular. I think we started really well, that was a good thing. I think we were tired. We talked about it before the game, made sure we didn't get in a lull and come out hard no matter how long we were sitting there. We came out really, really hard.
"It was really great to be out on the ice. The atmosphere felt like old times again.
"I watch these guys on TV at night and watch the kids, watch them grow and watch them bring excitement to the city and I'm tickled. I'm really excited for them, I'm excited for the fans that are coming back. I'm proud of Rocky [Wirtz] for what he's doing with the team. I know the new people they've brought in have done a great job. This city is going to have a lot of exciting things to look forward to. Having Savvy behind the bench and Dale up top, it's a great fit for this organization."
Head coach Ron Wilson: "We wanted to use the energy. It's been a while; only a few of us in the room have ever been in here when it was sold out and rocking. Only myself, I think Rob Zettler and Tim Hunter had ever experienced the stadium and the anthem and the energy that was always in the building. I wanted our team, first of all, to respect Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, and our guys were excited to sit there through the ceremony and be a part of history and feel the energy, too. I think it's important to understand where you came from. It was just a great time. And then for us to win, I rode over with Bobby Hull before the game and I said, 'This is a great night for you but I don't think in the end the Hawks are going to win the game.' I'm glad they did that for him and Stan.
Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov: "In those situations, you never know what their judgment will come down to, but I thought it was pretty obvious and so did the ref because he waved it right away.
"Ronnie [Wilson] asked us before the game if we wanted to go and be a part of it and we told him we have to be there to honor those two big guys. Me, not growing up here, I don't know much about them to be honest with you, but you read about those guys and obviously talk to Vlady Tretiak about them and he remembers all those guys. You have to respect those guys.