CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks are one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1992, thanks to 257-pound playoff dynamo Dustin Byfuglien.
Byfuglien scored his seventh goal of this postseason 12:24 into overtime Friday night and the Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
The Blackhawks can finish the sweep and make the finals with a victory Sunday at the United Center.
Byfuglien went straight down the middle and took a nice pass from Dave Bolland, who was behind the net, to beat Evgeni Nabokov and set off a deafening roar from the crowd of 22,311.
Bolland scored on a breakaway to put Chicago ahead 2-1 in the third period, but Patrick Marleau answered with a rebound goal with 4:23 left in regulation to tie it and force overtime.
Marleau also scored in the second period on a power play, giving him four goals in two games. Patrick Sharp had a man-advantage goal for the Blackhawks.
Antti Niemi had 44 saves for the Blackhawks, stopping five shots in overtime, including one on Devin Setoguchi from the right circle. Nabokov finished with 35 saves and had stuffed Patrick Kane earlier in overtime when the quick forward skated to the net.
Bolland picked up a loose puck at center ice after Jonathan Toews blocked a shot, skated ahead, and at the last second maneuvered in to beat Nabokov with just under seven minutes remaining in regulation to give Chicago a 2-1 lead.
But the lead didn’t last long. About 2½ minutes later, Marleau scored on a rebound with 4:23 to play.
Just as a two-man advantage was about to elapse, Marleau scored his first goal on a rebound shot from the slot. The power-play goal came about four minutes into the second period to put the Sharks ahead 1-0.
The goal came after back-to-back penalties on Bolland and Marian Hossa 33 seconds apart.
But three minutes later with the Blackhawks on a power play, Toews threaded a perfect pass across the crease to Sharp.
An apparent early first-period goal by San Jose’s Joe Pavelski was disallowed following a video review.
As Pavelski battled Duncan Keith for a rebound in front of the net during a power play less than two minutes in, the puck went into the net. But after the review, officials ruled that Pavelski directed the puck in with his skate and waved it off.
San Jose coach Todd McLellan shifted his lines to try to shake up the Sharks’ offense that managed just three goals in the first two games at home. Setoguchi and Logan Couture were paired with star Joe Thornton to start the game, replacing Dany Heatley and Marleau.
NOTES: Toews’ two assists gave him a point in 12 straight playoff games, setting a club record he had shared with Hall of Famer Stan Mikita, who had an 11-game streak in 1962. Toews has 25 points in this year’s playoffs.