CHICAGO (AP) — Jean-Francois Berube made 42 saves in his first start for Chicago to help the Blackhawks beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Friday night.
Defenseman Jan Rutta, activated from injured reserve Friday, and Nick Schmaltz scored, and Artem Anisimov added an empty-netter with 30.5 seconds left.
Anthony Duclair had two assists for the Blackhawks. They won their second straight and third in four games following an eight-game losing streak that dropped them to last place in the Central Division.
Berube lost a bid for this first NHL shutout when Timo Meier scored his 15th goal on a screened shot with 7:51 left in the third period.
Martin Jones stopped 33 shots for the Sharks, coming off a 7-1 loss at Nashville on Thursday night.
The 26-year-old Berube, recalled from Rockford of the AHL last week, appeared in one previous game for Chicago this season in relief of Anton Forsberg on Dec. 6.
Signed by the Blackhawks as a free agent in July, Berube played his 23rd game in the NHL. He appeared in 21 games with the New York Islanders over the two previous seasons.
The Sharks and Blackhawks, long-time Western Conference rivals, met for the first of three games this season.
San Jose outshot Chicago 15-11 in the scoreless first. The Sharks’ Joe Pavelski fired a shot off the right post 6:20 in, and Mikkel Boedker was stopped by Berube from the slot with just over 5 minutes left in the period.
Berube made a close-in save on Eric Fehr early in the second as he cut through the slot off left wing.
Rutta opened the scoring at 5:46 of the period with his sixth goal. After taking Duclair’s feed from the goal line, Rutta shot from the right circle. San Jose’s Melker Karlsson blocked that attempt, but Rutta jumped on the loose puck and fired it in.
Jones made a couple of nifty saves — on Duclair and Patrick Kane — later in the second to keep it close.
Schmaltz made it 2-0 at 2:01 of the third with his 17th goal as Chicago pounced on a San Jose turnover.
After Boedker couldn’t handle Justin Braun’s pass in the San Jose slot, Duclair whipped the puck to Schmaltz who fired in a one-timer from the left circle.
Berube made close-in saves on Logan Couture and Jannik Hansen — and Pavelski hit the post again — before Meier cut it to 2-1 at 12:09 of the third.
Meier connected on a drive from the high slot with Pavelski and Chicago defenseman Jordan Oesterle screening Berube.
NOTES: The Sharks had only one brief power play on Friday and have gone eight games and 19 chances without converting an man advantage. … Rutta hadn’t played since Feb. 6. He missed seven games with an undisclosed injury and sat out a game before being hurt. … Linesman Steve Miller was hit in the mid-section by a puck 4:51 into the third and crumpled to the ice. After being tended to by Blackhawks trainer Mike Gapski, Miller remained in the game. … Chicago F Patrick Sharp and F Lance Bouma were healthy scratches for a second straight game. With Rutta returning, D Carl Dahlstrom didn’t play.
Sharks: At Minnesota on Sunday night in final of four-game trip.
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