Entering Friday’s action, the Sharks sit in second place in the Pacific Division, a full 10 points behind the Vegas Golden Knights and the most annoying Twitter account in professional sports. San Jose’s leading scorer this season is Brent Burns. Although a fine offensive defenseman, Burns as a leading scorer does not lend much confidence into San Jose’s postseason aspirations. Center Joe Thornton could be out for the season following a knee surgery, further hampering an offense that sits around the middle of the pack in terms of goals cored this season. The Sharks will be mentally hurting on Friday night, as well, coming off a 7-1 dismantling at the hands of the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. A team playing on short rest coming off a blowout loss would seem like an easy target for the Blackhawks in years past. But this hasn’t been one of those years for the Hawks, has it?
Reports from the morning skate have Jean-Francois Berube making the start on Friday at 1901 W. Madison. Berube’s lone NHL appearance this season was in relief of Anton Forsberg during a 6-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on December 6, 2017. Berube has spent most of his time this season in the AHL, posting a 7-8-2 record with a 2.37 GAA and .920 SV% for the Ice Hogs. But after recovering from an injury a few weeks ago, Berube was called up to the Hawks to replace Jeff Glass. Berube appeared in 21 games for the New York Islanders prior to this season, posting a decent .914 SV% and 2.71 GAA in the 2015-16 season, but followed that with a disastrous .889 SV% and 3.42 GAA in the 2016-17 season before signing a two-year deal with the Hawks in the offseason. Berube could certainly warrant more consideration at the NHL level with some strong play in the final six weeks of the season. Elsewhere, Jan Rutta appears ready to return from injury, with Carl Dahlstrom looking like the odd man out. The forwards remain the same as they did in Wednesday night’s victory over the Ottawa Senators, with the most intriguing line being the one centered by Nick Schmaltz with Alex DeBrincat and Anthony Duclair on his wings.
Pride and contract offers are about the only motivating factors left for the Blackhawks to play for over the rest of the season. Guess we’ll find out how much of a motivating factor that really is.
|F1||Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Tommy Wingels|
|F2||Tomas Jurco - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane|
|F3||Alex DeBrincat - Nick Schmaltz - Anthony Duclair|
|F4||Vinnie Hinostroza - David Kampf - Ryan Hartman|
|D1||Duncan Keith - Jordan Oesterle|
|D2||Connor Murphy - Brent Seabrook|
|F1||Timo Meier - Joe Pavelski - Joonas Donskoi|
|F2||Tomas Hertl - Logan Couture - Kevin LaBanc|
|F3||Mikkel Boedker - Chris Tierney - Jannik Hansen|
|F4||Barclay Goodrow - Eric Fehr - Melker Karlsson|
|D1||Joakim Ryan - Brent Burns|
|D2||Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun|
|D3||Brenden Dillon - Dylan Demelo|
*Lines are subject to change.
How to watch Sharks at Blackhawks
Start time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: United Center, Chicago