Sharp continues adding to career season

CHICAGO -- Only two Chicago Blackhawks have reached 80 points in a season since 2000.

Tony Amonte did so in the 1999-2000 season with 84 points. Patrick Kane was the other with 88 points during the 2009-10 season.

And now Patrick Sharp is knocking on that door. With another goal and assist in the Blackhawks' 3-2 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, Sharp upped his point total to 78 points this season. The Blackhawks have two regular-season games left.

Sharp has already broken his previous points record. He had 71 points during the 2010-11 season. He also has a new single-season assists record with 44. He's two goals shy of matching his career-best 36 goals, which he set in the 2007-08 season.

Sharp's numbers this season have been a byproduct of his consistency. He has recorded points in 52 of 80 games this season, and six of the 28 games he didn't record a point in came during the first nine games of the season.

Sharp's longest points slump has been three games, which has happened only once. He has had nine points streaks of three games or more. His longest has been six games.

After the Blackhawks discovered they would be without Kane and Jonathan Toews for the final six regular-season games, Sharp was asked if the offensive burden fell on his shoulders.

"I'm not really going to change much," Sharp said. "I'm going to do what I did all season long. I'm not going to try to take anything else on. I'm going to play the game I've played from start to finish and hopefully I continue to have success that way."

That's exactly what he has done and success has followed him. Sharp has scored a goal in each of the Blackhawks' past three games and has five points during that span. Chicago is on a four-game winning streak.

Sharp especially came through Wednesday. He provided the primary assist on Marian Hossa's goal with 47.7 seconds left in the third period to force overtime, and Sharp then scored the winner 43 seconds into OT.

"I like the responsibility shown," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Sharp. "In a game like this, he took charge in the end, got us up the ice, on the ice there in the end with the threat to score and we tie it up and then he scores in overtime.

"I think his leadership and his part of the core group in the absence of two of our top guys, I think Sharpie has stepped up to the plate here and responded in the right fashion."