How it happened: The Blackhawks were in control of the game for most of the night. Patrick Sharp gave Chicago a 1-0 lead after the first period. The Devils’ Stephen Gionta tied the game at 5:37 of the second period, but the Blackhawks answered with goals by Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell to take a 3-1 advantage after two periods. Michael Ryder trimmed the Blackhawks’ lead to one with a goal 59 seconds into the third period, but Sharp scored shortly after and gave Chicago some breathing room again. Nick Leddy added another goal later in the period. The Blackhawks held the Devils to two shots in the first period, six shots in the second period and four shots in the third period. Chicago outshot New Jersey 37-12. Blackhawks rookie goaltender Antti Raanta made 10 saves and improved to 8-1-2 on the season.
What it means: The Blackhawks headed into the NHL’s holiday break with a strong showing. They improved to 26-7-6 with 58 points. They trail the Anaheim Ducks’ only 59 points in the league. Kane extended his points streak to 12 games with a goal. He has recorded points in 24 of the past 25 games and has 38 points during that span. The Devils fell to 15-16-7 on the season.
Player of the game: Sharp scored multiple goals for the third time this season. He’s second on the team with 18 goals. He has had 12 points in the past eight games.
Stat of the game: The Blackhawks won 38 of 56 faceoffs.
What’s next: The entire NHL has the next three days off. The Blackhawks return to action with back-to-back games. They host the Colorado Avalanche on Friday and travel to play the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.