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Nabokov makes 45 saves as Sharks top Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Evgeni Nabokov made 45 saves and Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist to lead the San Jose Sharks to their third straight win, 3-2 over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

Dany Heatley and Jason Demers also scored for the Sharks, who moved ahead of the Blackhawks into first place in the Western Conference, and snapped Chicago’s four-game overall and five-game home winning streaks.

Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa each had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who outshot the Sharks 47-14.

Chicago’s Cristobal Huet made 11 saves, but his shutout streak ended at 143:31 when Heatley opened the scoring 3:18 into the first. Huet had 3-0 shutouts in his two previous starts.

Huet had not permitted a goal since Buffalo’s Clarke MacArthur beat him late in the second period of the Sabres’ 2-1 win on Dec. 11.

San Jose capitalized on Chicago’s mistakes to avenge 4-3 and 7-2 losses to the Blackhawks in November.

San Jose’s three-game winning streak comes on the heels of an 0-2-3 slide, its longest winless slump this season.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan had reassembled a line of top forwards Heatley, Thornton and Patrick Marleau to help spark San Jose to a 4-2 win at Dallas on Monday. McLellan kept the trio together against Chicago and it paid off.

The Blackhawks outshot the Sharks 15-4 in the first, but trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes. Heatley put San Jose ahead early when he slipped around Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook, took Dan Boyle’s feed and beat Huet with a high shot on the short side.

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