Sharp's shootout score lifts Blackhawks over Pens

Chicago, IL ( - Patrick Sharp's goal in the third round of the shootout provided the difference in the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After each of the first four skaters of the deciding phase scored, Corey Crawford made a glove save on the Penguins' Kris Letang to begin the third round and Sharp followed by rifling a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Blackhawks the two points.

"Anytime you get two points and a win against a tough team like that, it's a good situation," said Patrick Kane, one of three Blackhawks to score in the shootout.

Crawford helped force the shootout by coming up with 36 saves through overtime, with Niklas Hjalmarsson accounting for the Blackhawks' regulation goal.

Pittsburgh trailed 1-0 after two periods before drawing even on Nick Spaling's marker 3:54 into the third.

Fleury finished with 31 saves in a losing cause.

"It's almost unfortunate that it wasn't a playoff game where I guess you could see a real winner and win," Penguins forward David Perron said. "They got the two points today, but I thought we were satisfied with how we played the whole 65 minutes."

Both Crawford and Fleury were able to shut down their opponents until the shootout, which began with goals from Perron and Chicago captain Jonathan Toews. Sidney Crosby and Kane then connected on their second-round attempts before Crawford was able to stone Letang on a forehand try.

Up next, Sharp skated hard towards Fleury and beat him glove-side with a rising wrister for the clincher.

"I just wanted to use my quick shot and find an open space and luckily it went in," said Sharp of his game-winner.

Crawford had stymied the Penguins over the first two periods before Pittsburgh finally broke through early in the third. Beau Bennett skated his way through traffic and sent a shot that Crawford kicked away, but a trailing Spaling put in the carom to knot the score at 1-1.

Chicago had an opportunity to move back in front later in the stanza when Crosby was sent off on a tripping call with 5:56 left, but the Penguins successfully killed off the penalty.

After Crawford kept the game scoreless with an outstanding 15-save opening period, the Blackhawks broke the deadlock 3:22 into the second.

Toews won a faceoff from Sidney Crosby in the Pittsburgh zone and Chicago worked the puck back to Hjalmarsson, whose rocket from near the blue line landed over Fleury's shoulder and into the net.

Game Notes

The Blackhawks are now 18-0-0 this season when leading after two periods ... Chicago also bested the Penguins in a shootout in Pittsburgh back on Jan. 21, a 3-2 result ... Bennett registered a game-high nine shots on goal ... The Penguins went 0-for-2 on the power play and haven't scored on the man advantage in seven straight games, going 0-for-15 during that stretch ... The Blackhawks improved to 7-2 in shootouts, while Pittsburgh fell to 3-5.