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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sniper Kane tearing it up for Blackhawks

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CHICAGO -- Patrick Sharp scored twice and Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell and Nick Leddy also connected to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night.

Stephen Gionta and Michael Ryder had goals for the Devils, whose season-high four-game point streak (3-0-1) ended.

Kane has points in 12 straight games, matching his career high -- set earlier this season and just before his run.

He has seven goals and 14 assists in his streak, and at least one point in all but one of his past 25 games, helping him climb into second in the NHL scoring race behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby.

Bickell's goal was his first since Nov. 10, but he missed 14 of Chicago's 19 games during that span with a knee injury.

Chicago rookie Antti Raanta blocked 10 shots in his seventh straight start -- all since Blackhawks top goalie Corey Crawford suffered a lower-body injury on Dec. 8.

New Jersey's Cory Schneider made 32 saves as the Blackhawks outshot the Devils 37-12 and dominated most of the game. It was the fewest shots against Chicago in a game this season.

The Blackhawks outshot the Devils 12-2 in the first period and led 1-0 after 20 minutes.

Sharp opened the scoring at 12:59 when he snapped off a 40-foot shot from the left boards. New Jersey defenceman Mark Fayne reached toward the puck with his right glove, but deflected it past Schneider.

One of the Devils' two shots in the period was a dump-in from their own blue line while killing a penalty.

New Jersey's best chance came on a 2-on-1 break late in the period, but the Devils' didn't even manage a shot on the attempt when Patrik Elias tried to slide a late cross-ice pass to Mattias Tedenby at the right post.

Gionta tied it at 1 at 5:37 of the second on a deflection at the doorstep and the Devils' fourth shot on goal.

Following a failed Chicago clearing attempt on the left boards, Jon Merrill fired from the top of the slot. The puck struck the skate of Blackhawks defenceman Michael Kostka, then ticked in off Gionta's stick.

Kane put Chicago back ahead 2-1 just over 2 minutes later when he drove to the net and slammed in a rebound of Leddy's shot. Schneider made a glove save on Leddy's drive from the slot, but it dropped to the ice and Kane plowed over Devils defenceman Marek Zidlicky to score.

Bickell made it 3-1 with 7:33 left in the period, connecting on a rising, screened shot from the right circle after taking a feed from Brandon Saad.

Ryder swept in a backhand 59 seconds into the third to cut it 3-2 after he picked off a clearing pass by Chicago defenceman Brent Seabrook.

Set up by Marian Hossa's stretch pass, Sharp scored his second goal on a breakaway at 5:54 to extend Chicago's lead to 4-2. He took the feed at centre ice, streaked in alone and fired a low shot under Schneider's glove to record his third two-goal game this season.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 24, 2013 ??65530

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