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Associated Press
Chicago Blackhawks' Nick Leddy, right, checks New Jersey Devils' Marek Zidlicky, of the Czech Republic, against the glass during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Friday, in Newark, N.J.

Sharp nets hat trick, Blackhawks beat Devils 5-3

NEWARK, N.J. – Patrick Sharp scored three goals and the Chicago Blackhawks avoided a rare second straight loss with a 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

Sharp, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa scored in a span of 4:04 early in the third period to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead. Sharp added his 25th of the season and capped his hat trick with less than 2 minutes to play after New Jersey had pulled to 4-3.

Duncan Keith had three assists and fellow defenseman Brent Seabrook two in the four-goal third period against Martin Brodeur. Antti Raanta made 24 saves for Chicago.

Marek Zidlicky scored twice and fellow defenseman Andy Greene once for New Jersey, which lost in regulation for only the second time in nine games (5-2-2). Both defeats have come against the defending Stanley Cup champions, who lost in overtime to the Islanders on Thursday.

Chicago is 11-1-3 against Eastern Conference opponents.

Kane broke a 1-all tie with a great effort and some luck 90 seconds into the third period. Skating down the right boards after taking a pass from Seabrook, Kane centered a pass toward Brandon Saad in front of the net. The puck deflected off Zidlicky’s stake and past Brodeur for his 24th goal.

Sharp, who opened the scoring, connected 74 seconds later with a great shot from low in the left circle that beat Brodeur over the shoulder. Seabrook set it up with a cross-ice pass from the right point.

Hossa capped the outburst with a shot from between the circles over Brodeur’s shoulder after taking a pass from Jonathan Toews, who also had two assists. That gave Chicago a 4-1 lead, but the Devils didn’t quit.

Zidlicky made the game close again by scoring twice in a little more than 6 minutes, with the second coming on a power play with just over 6 minutes to play.

In their Dec. 23 meeting, the Blackhawks outshot the Devils 37-12 in a 5-2 win.

It was a totally different game this time. It was competitive for two periods, and the best players on the ice were Brodeur and Raanta, who both stopped several good chances in close.

After a scoreless opening period, Sharp gave the Blackhawks the lead. Toews set it up, taking the puck off Mark Fayne’s stick and finding Sharp between the circles at 1:34. It came seconds after Brodeur had stopped him in close.

New Jersey needed 43 seconds to tie the game. Steve Bernier started a counterattack in the Devils’ zone with a pass to Stephen Gionta. He carried the puck into the Chicago end and lifted a pass to Greene, who slid the puck between Raanta’s pads.

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