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Sharp's short-handed breakaway goal lifts Blackhawks over Oilers 2-1

The Canadian Press
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Chicago Blackhawks\' Rene Bourque, right, tries to control the puck against Edmonton Oilers\' Matt Greene during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, in Chicago. (AP/Nam Y. Huh) Author: The Hockey News

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Sharp's short-handed breakaway goal lifts Blackhawks over Oilers 2-1

The Canadian Press
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Sharp's short-handed breakaway score early in the third period Sunday snapped a tie and gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Sharp reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career with the goal, which also was his first game-winner this season. The play was set up after the Blackhawks' Martin Havlat forced Edmonton's Ales Hemsky to turn over the puck high in the Chicago zone.

After Havlat poked the puck away from Hemsky, he fed it to Sharp. Both Sharp and Havlat skated in alone, and Sharp beat Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson with a shot high on the glove side.

"We're pretty aggressive on penalty killing," Sharp said. "Marty Havlat told me after I got 19, he was going to make sure I got to 20. It's a nice number, but it's not what I play for.

"I want be a guy who helps the team in all situations. On penalty killing, Savvy (Chicago coach Denis Savard) seems to trust me out there. It feels nice to help the team with a game-winner."

Sharp's goal was his ninth in his last 12 games.

Tuomo Ruutu also scored for the Blackhawks, who won for the second time in three days following a six-game losing streak. Ruutu snapped a seven-game streak without a point.

"I'm not happy with the way I've played," Ruutu said. "But I'm happy I played. It's better than being injured for two years."

Chicago's Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 19 shots.

Raffi Torres scored for nose-diving Edmonton, which dropped its fourth straight and has one victory in its last 17 games (1-15-1). Roloson made 18 saves.

The Oilers failed to convert any of five power-play chances, including a 5-on-3 advantage late in the second that lasted 1:43.

"Our undoing tonight was our power play," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "We failed to capitalize on the 5-on-3 and we had an opportunity to win the game in the third.

"We got too aggressive, gave up a 2-on-0 and gave up the winning goal on our power play. Outside of that, it was a much better effort on our part."

The Blackhawks and Oilers have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Although Chicago improved to 67 points - two more than it had last season - it will miss the post-season for the eighth time in nine seasons.

Torres opened the scoring at 7:12 of the first. After going to the net and slipping by Chicago defenceman Adrian Aucoin, Torres tipped in Marc Pouliot's pinpoint pass from the right corner.

Ruutu tied it at 6:16 of the second. Although Ruutu appeared to be covered at the edge of the crease, he muscled in Radim Vrbata's centring pass from behind the net.

The Oilers managed only three shots on goal during their 5-on-3 power play in the second.

Sharp's short-handed goal at 2:57 of the third period capped a 2-on-none break with Havlat.

Notes: Sharp and Havlat are the only Blackhawks with 20 or more goals this season. ... Edmonton D Steve Staios missed his 12th game with a left knee injury and D Jan Hejda missed his 12th with a left shoulder injury. Oilers D Mathieu Roy missed his first with a concussion. LW Jean-Francois Jacques was a healthy scratch. ... Blackhawks LW Peter Bondra missed his third straight game and seventh in his last eight with a sore shoulder. ... Chicago concluded their homestand 2-4-0.

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Sharp's short-handed breakaway goal lifts Blackhawks over Oilers 2-1