Korolev scored his first goal of the season with 7:13 left to snap a tie and lift the Blackhawks to a 2-1 victory Friday night over the San Jose Sharks.
Although the game was the Blackhawks 40th, it was only the 20th for Korolev, who started the season in the minors.
However, in Chicago’s last two games, he’s had nearly 36 minutes of ice time after not dressing the previous four contests. Korolev has gotten more playing time playing left wing alongside center Alex Zhamnov, who recently returned from back surgery.
“It was just nice to score,” Korolev said. “For sure, (Zhamnov) is a great player. I like to play the wing, but if I don’t get to play with a great center, then I like to play center.”
Positioned at the right edge of the crease, Korolev deflected in Steve Sullivan’s pass from a goal mouth scrum for the winner. Zhamnov, also in the scramble, slid the puck to Sullivan.
Chicago’s Brett McLean and San Jose’s Alexander Korolyuk scored early in the third period as the Blackhawks won for only the fourth time in 26 games (4-14-4-4).
Steve Passmore made 31 saves for the Blackhawks. He earned his first win since being recalled from Norfolk of the AHL on Dec. 9. In four games since, Passmore has allowed only six goals.
“He’s earned the right to come back up,” Chicago coach Brian Sutter said. “I’m happy for him. If he comes back and plays the way he has, it takes a lot of pressure off everyone.”
San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov stopped 28 shots but it wasn’t enough to extend the Sharks’ unbeaten streak (5-0-1).
Korolyuk appeared to score his second goal of the game with 5:48 left in the third period, but it was disallowed after a video replay showed the net had been dislodged.
Passmore apparently dislodged the goal accidentally with his leg as he set up to make a save on Korolyuk who was moving in alone. After making a move, Korolyuk beat Passmore high on the blocker side.
“My opinion is it’s totally devised logic,” San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. “A goalie can on a breakaway knock the net off or dislodge it and it disallows the goal? What you’re opening up is a can of worms.
“What I propose, and I’ll tell our goalies, every time there’s a breakaway and the guy makes a move, slam into the net and say it was an accident.”
Both teams had chances during the first two scoreless periods.
San Jose’s Mike Ricci slid the puck into the net from a scrum just over six minutes into the second period. However, that goal was also disallowed because a whistle sounded before the puck entered the net.
During a Chicago power play with 4:45 left in the second, the Blackhawks’ Tyler Arnason fired to the left of an open net.
Passmore made a point-blank pad save on Alyn McCauley with 3:10 to go in the second.
Nabokov stopped Tuomo Ruutu with a pad save 1:45 into the third after Ruutu slipped around the San Jose defense.
McLean finally broke through with the game’s first goal 30 seconds later. He chipped a shot over a fallen Nabokov from the right edge of the crease.
Korolyuk tied it at 6:53 of the third when his high slap shot from the rightpoint beat Passmore on the glove side.