NHL Scores: Blackhawks top Ducks again; Penguins blow out Sabres

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks are still the best team in the NHL, and they proved it again on Wednesday night by shutting out the Ducks in Anaheim. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Sabres were no match for Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Anaheim Ducks still have the most points in the NHL, but it's hard to argue based on their three head-to-head meetings this season that the Chicago Blackhawks aren't the best team in the NHL.

With their 2-0 win in Anaheim on Wednesday, the Blackhawks finished the season series against the Ducks with a 2-0-1 record, closing to within one point of them for the top spot in the NHL and extending their losing streak to three games.

Marian Hossa was the driving force behind Chicago's win on Wednesday scoring a highlight reel goal and an adding an assist. Corey Crawford stopped all 29 shots he faced to record his first shutout of the season.

Elsewhere around the NHL on Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins blew out the Buffalo Sabres while the San Jose Sharks defeated the Dallas Stars in overtime on a Tommy Wingels goal.

All the NHL Scores

Penguins 5, Sabres 1

Blackhawks 2, Ducks 0

Sharks 2, Stars 1

Five Questions

On Wednesday we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.

1. Will Sidney Crosby end his five-game goal slump?

Oh yeah, and it was something to see as he smoked the Sabres' defense. It was like a hot knife going through butter as he split the defense and then beat Ryan Miller with a quick shot right over the glove to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead. They never looked back.

2. Will Ryan Miller make a convincing argument to win the No. 1 job for team USA?

Dan Bylsma said before the game that Miller's performance wasn't really going to factor in to his decision for the starting goaltender job in Sochi, and that's probably a good thing for Miller after he gave up five goals on Wednesday. Of course, it's nearly impossible to hold that against Miller because given the number of chances the Penguins created against a lackluster Buffalo defense it could have very easily been eight or nine goals. Pretty much every goal the Penguins scored was a highlight reel goal, including the aforementioned Crosby goal as well as Evgeni Malkin's second-period goal that saw him overwhelm Buffalo defenseman Jamie McBain.

3. Will Anaheim get back to its winning ways at home?

It did not, losing for the fifth time in seven home games, this time dropping a 2-0 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks.

4. Will the Sharks score more than two goals?

They did not, making it six games in a row the Sharks have scored two goals or fewer. The good news? At least they won this one, 2-1, thanks to a Tommy Wingels goal in overtime.

5. Can the Dallas Stars catch the Vancouver Canucks in the playoff race?

Due to their overtime loss, they managed to get one point closer but still remain one point behind Vancouver for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Impact Moment

The one play or moment from Wednesday that will be making headlines over the next couple of days.

The big story from Wednesday wasn't from any of the games, but the news that Steven Stamkos will not be participating in the 2014 Olympics, as he still hasn't been cleared to play. The debate now turns to who will be replacing him on the team Canada roster. Pittsburgh's James Neal, Philadelphia's Claude Giroux, and his Tampa Bay teammate Martin St. Louis seem to be at the top of the list as the most likely candidates to replace him, while Carolina's Eric Staal or Jeff Skinner could have an outside shot.

Stat of the Night

As of Thursday morning Sidney Crosby has a 13-point lead over Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf in the NHL's scoring race. That's a pretty large gap at this point. Just for comparisons sake, Getzlaf currently has a 13-point lead over the NHL's 21st leading scorer, Dallas' Jamie Benn. The gap between the first and second scorer in the NHL is as large as the gap between the 2nd leading scorer and the 21st scorer. That's pretty huge.

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