SAN JOSE -- The Sharks brought out their big guns for the shootout Saturday night and came away with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton all scored in the one-on-one competition as San Jose snapped a three-game losing streak. At the other end of the ice, goalie Antti Niemi gave up a goal to Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, then stopped forward Patrick Sharp.

"Usually he likes putting me fourth, but with so many guys out, I got moved up a slot, which is nice on the ego," said Thornton, who is three for three in the shootout this season after not even getting an attempt the previous three.

With Thornton's toe-drag move to avoid a poke check by Chicago goalie Corey Crawford impressing coach Todd McLellan -- "What a move, really nice to watch," he said -- the Sharks captain is likely to stay in that top three even when the injured players return.

The Sharks had managed only one goal during their three-game losing streak, and this game -- entertaining as it was -- featured the same problem.

Neither team could score through the first two periods before Pavelski's short-handed goal at 6:10 of the third gave San Jose a 1-0 lead, only to see a power-play goal by Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad even things up 63 seconds later.

Still, it was a satisfying way to end the losing streak against the defending Stanley Cup champions. McLellan wanted his team to recommit to the defensive end of the game as it tried to rediscover its offensive touch, and that the Sharks did.

"When you don't score a lot you start to focus on it and you slip in other areas," the coach said. "We had to reset that a little bit. We'll be fighting it until we start scoring consistently but to win games 2-1, 1-0 they count just as much and sometimes they're more gratifying."

The game was scoreless for the first two periods, with San Jose's penalty kill deserving much of the credit as it stifled the Blackhawks on their first three chances.

Still, McLellan said, his players weren't getting frustrated.

"I thought we were focused and we stuck with the game plan," the coach said. "We didn't come in between periods and have to make a lot of adjustments. We liked what we had been doing for the most part."

In the third period, all the scoring came with Brad Stuart in the penalty box for hooking Chicago forward Patrick Kane.

Pavelski gave the Sharks a short-lived 1-0 lead with his team-leading 29th goal of the season after a neutral zone turnover by Sharp. Taking a pass from Scott Hannan, Pavelski outmuscled Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith and beat Crawford with a 26-foot wrist shot.

San Jose Sharks’ Joe Pavelski (8) fires the puck at the net as he score1-0 shorthanded goal against Chicago Blackhawks’ Duncan Keith (2)  in
San Jose Sharks' Joe Pavelski (8) fires the puck at the net as he score1-0 shorthanded goal against Chicago Blackhawks' Duncan Keith (2) in the third period at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group) ( Josie Lepe )

Then, Saad's shot went into the net off Niemi's glove at 7:13 and the only lead San Jose held in the past five games was over.

"It was tough," Thornton said, "but we're a veteran group and we know how to react."

The shootout win was San Jose's sixth in a row and eighth in the last nine. Overall, the Sharks are 9-5 in the game-deciding skills showdown.

"It's weird how it goes and how it can change," Niemi said, "like how the season started with shootouts. Losing a few, and now we haven't really done too much about it, and now we're winning."

McLellan was asked if he thought the game might be a playoff preview.

"Oh, god, I hope it's a preview because that means we're playing in the final four," McLellan said. "With the new divisional playoffs, we can't meet this team until the final four so if it's a preview it's a great thing for both teams."

  • Defenseman Jason Demers was a late scratch because of a lower-body injury.

    MONDAY'S GAME

    Philadelphia (27-23-6) at Sharks (35-15-6), 7:30 p.m. CSNCA

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