As in 13 games without a regulation loss this season at HP Pavilion. As in 13 consecutive victories over the Chicago Blackhawks.
This one was a struggle. With Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov playing his first game in nearly three weeks Wednesday night, San Jose needed an overtime goal by Joe Thornton to secure the 3-2 victory that raised its NHL-best record to 18-3-1.
"It was a 50-50 night," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We got the last shot on goal and it went our way."
That last shot came 45 seconds into overtime and only after Thornton won an individual battle that kept Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith from clearing the zone.
"The ice wasn't so good tonight and the puck was bouncing all over the place," Thornton said of the play. "Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't."
Once Thornton had control of the puck, he started and finished a quick give-and-go with Ryane Clowe to beat Blackhawks goalie Cristobal Huet, who entered the game late in the second period when starter Nikolai Khabibulin had to leave with a lower body injury.
"Clowe made a great play," McLellan said, "but Joe had the sense to jump by the defenseman and go to the net. That's something we've stressed, and he's done a good job of that this year."
The Sharks had three days between games and were hoping they wouldn't get off to the same sluggish start they did Saturday night against Washington under similar circumstances.
They didn't, outshooting Chicago 17-2 in the first period and finally taking a 1-0 lead on a power play goal by Rob Blake at 19:43. It was the 129th power-play goal of the veteran defenseman's career, tying him with Phil Housley for fourth place in NHL history.
The Blackhawks seemed to find their legs in the second period, tying things up on a goal by Jonathan Toews at 12:43.
The Sharks found themselves in trouble later in the period when Mike Grier's hit on Chicago defenseman Aaron Johnson earned the Sharks' right wing a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct at 15:24.
A subsequent penalty to Dan Boyle for hooking at 19:59, however, meant the Blackhawks started the third period with a 5-on-3 advantage of its own and the Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead when Toews converted a centering pass at 0:23.
The Sharks evened things up at 8:13 when Thornton got the puck to Patrick Marleau behind the net and he scored on a wraparound. Devin Setoguchi got an assist on the play and that meant the entire line's point-scoring streak was extended to six games.
Contact David Pollak at firstname.lastname@example.org.Sharks 3,Blackhawks 2NEXT GAME: Friday, at Stars, 5:30 p.m.