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updated: 1/30/2010 5:39 AM

Hawks' confidence grows with wins at San Jose

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It's still a long time until the playoffs, and an even longer way until a potential meeting between the Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference finals.

But what a series that would be - the two best teams in the West, settling things once and for all.

"I still think there's a lot of hockey left and who knows how things are going to sort out?" Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

The Hawks' 4-3 win over the Sharks on Thursday was their second in two games this season at HP Pavilion, one of the tougher buildings in the league for visiting teams.

The Sharks are 18-4-7 on home ice.

"To beat them in the playoffs, we know we're going to have to beat them here, so it gives us a little bit of confidence if we do have to face them," Hawks winger Troy Brouwer said.

Despite the win, the Hawks remained 1 point behind the Sharks in the standings.

"We wanted first place and to get first place you have to beat these guys," Brouwer said.

The Hawks won the season series from the Sharks 3-1.

Follow the leaders: The Hawks are 5-2 on their eight-game road trip thanks largely to their superior depth up front.

Every Hawk except John Madden and Brent Sopel have chipped in at least 1 point on the road trip, and in the win at San Jose, 10 different players found their way on to the score sheet.

Jonathan Toews leads the team with 8 points in the first seven games of the trip on 4 goals and 4 assists.

Patrick Kane has 2 goals and 6 assists while Troy Brouwer is tops with 5 goals. Marian Hossa has 3 goals and 3 assists, Patrick Sharp 1 goal and 5 assists and Andrew Ladd 2 goals and 4 assists.

Duncan Keith leads the defensemen with 1 goal and 4 assists.

Bad timing: The Hurricanes are finally starting to turn things around after almost four months of bad hockey.

Unfortunately for the Hawks, they get the Hurricanes now when they've won three in a row and four of the last five.

"We're playing a pretty good brand of hockey," Eric Staal said.

Staal is one of the big reasons for the turnaround. He has 8 goals in the last five games since taking over from Rod Brind'Amour as team captain.

"He has definitely picked up his game and with that has picked everybody else up," Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward said.