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Blackhawks vs. Sharks preview: Andrew Desjardins, Ben Smith set to face former teams

Can Chicago win at the Shark Tank to capture the regular-season series?

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It's been less than two weeks since Andrew Desjardins and Ben Smith switched places.

They're both expected to be in the lineup for their new teams when the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks for the regular-season series finale between the two clubs Saturday afternoon at SAP Center.

The teams have split two meetings in the season series, with each team winning at home. The Sharks have won three of four overall and Chicago has dropped two straight and six of its last seven at the Shark Tank. San Jose is 17-15-5 at home, while the Blackhawks are 19-12-1 on the road.

Chicago is on a four-game point streak, going 3-0-1 and sit in third place in the Central Division. The Blackhawks are five points behind St. Louis for second and five ahead of fourth-place Minnesota.

Brad Richards' third-period goal lifted the Blackhawks to a 2-1 win Thursday in Arizona. Andrew Shaw also netted a goal for the Blackhawks, who have won five of seven. Corey Crawford made 17 saves for the win.

Richards ended a 23-game goal drought, scoring for the first time since Jan. 11. Shaw's goal was his first in 18 games, dating back to Jan. 28. The first-period goal by Shaw also snapped a 0-for-16 streak on the power-play. Chicago went 2-for-7 with the man advantage against Arizona.

Richards' game-winner was also his 900th career point. He's the 10th active player to reach the milestone, with 286 goals and 614 assist in 1,046 NHL career games.

Versteeg Toews Hossa
Saad Vermette Teravainen
Bickell Richards Sharp
Desjardins Kruger Shaw

Crawford is expected to start again.

Opponent Breakdown: San Jose Sharks

San Jose have won their last two games on a four-game homestand after opening with a 3-2 loss to Vancouver. San Jose has a 4-1-0 record this month and haven't dropped three straight since Jan. 21-31. San Jose sits three points behind Los Angeles for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Sharks have only surrendered one goal over their last two games, beating Pittsburgh, 2-1, in a shootout Monday before blanking Nashville 2-0 on Thursday.

Tomas Hertl scored a power-play goal, Tommy Wingels added an empty-netter and Antti Niemi stopped 35 shots for his fifth shutout of the season and second against the Predators.

Hertl has 27 points (11 goals, six assists) in 68 games this season. He's paired with Wingels on the Sharks' third line. Defenseman Matt Irwin has produced well offensively, with two goals and two assists in his last four games.

The 26-year-old Smith arrived in San Jose just in time to play March 2 against the Montreal Canadiens. He scored the game-winning goal, and added an assist while centering the third line in a 4-0 win. The win jump started a streak of four out of five game win streak.

Smith has been bumped to the fourth line with Barclay Goodrow and former Blackhawk John Scott. He has one assist in his four games.

Niemi will get the start between the pipes, he is 7-7-1 with a 2.74 GAA and .916 save percentage in his career against his former team.

Injury Report

ChicagoPatrick Kane (collarbone)

San Jose: Matt Irwin (upper-body), Mike Brown (broken fibula) and Raffi Torres (knee).

Game Information

When: 3 p.m. CT

Where: SAP Center

TV: WGN

Radio: WGN-720

For Chicago Blackhawks tickets, check out Ticketmaster. Follow Second City Hockey on Twitter at @2ndCityHockey and Like us on Facebook. You can follow Brandon Cain on Twitter at @BrandonMCain.