The Blackhawks skated away with a 3-1 home victory over the Sharks on Feb. 23 behind a career-high 42-save effort by J.F. Berube. Nick Schmaltz also had a goal and an assist. Chicago followed the win with a 3-2 loss Saturday in Columbus.
Berube will start in net against San Jose with Corey Crawford still sidelined with an injury. Thursday’s game marks the first of three straight games in California, including back-to-back games this weekend in Los Angeles and Anaheim for the Hawks.
Chicago (27-28-8), who is on the verge of seeing its 10-season playoff streak end after a dismal 3-9-1 mark in February, will continue to get looks at young players like undrafted rookie Matthew Highmore. The 22-year-old winger led AHL Rockford with 21 goals, including seven power-play goals, and 35 points in 56 games before being recalled Tuesday.
The Hawks have been limited to only two goals in their last two visits to the Shark Tank. One player that could boost Chicago’s offense is captain Jonathan Toews, who is on a four-game pointless streak, but has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 15 games in San Jose.
The Sharks (34-21-9) are in second place in the Pacific Division and hold narrow leads over Los Angeles, Anaheim and Calgary, respectively.
San Jose picked up forward Evander Kane before the trade deadline earlier this week, and he recorded two assists in his San Jose debut as the Sharks defeated Edmonton 5-2 on Tuesday. The 26-year-old fit right in on San Jose’s top line alongside Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi.
Pavelski is coming off a career-high four-point (one goal, three assists) showing against Edmonton. He has had plenty of success against Chicago with a goal and five assists in a four-game point streak at home. His 50 points (16 goals, 34 assists) trail only defenseman Brent Burns by one for the team lead in scoring.
Aaron Dell figures to get the start between the pipes for the Sharks after signing a two-year, $3.8 million deal Wednesday. Dell is 14-5-3 with a 2.71 goals-against average this season, but he has never faced Chicago in his career. If Dell doesn’t start, Martin Jones will get the nod. Jones is 20-16-6 with a 2.51 goals-against average. He has only allowed two goals in as many home starts against the Hawks.
It’s the second of three season meetings against the two teams. After Tuesday night’s game, the teams will meet again Monday, March 26 in Chicago.
It is March!— Second City TANK SZN (@2ndCityHockey) March 1, 2018
Do: Buy Shamrock Shakes
Don’t: Buy green #Blackhawks merch
|F1||Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Vinnie Hinostroza|
|F2||Tomas Jurco - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane|
|F3||Alex DeBrincat - Nick Schmaltz - Matthew Highmore|
|F4||Patrick Sharp - David Kampf - Anthony Duclair|
|D1||Duncan Keith - Jordan Oesterle|
|D2||Connor Murphy - Brent Seabrook|
|D3||Erik Gustafsson - Carl Dahlstrom|
|F1||Evander Kane - Joe Pavelski - Joonas Donskoi|
|F2||Tomas Hertl - Logan Couture - Mikkel Boedker|
|F3||Timo Meier - Chris Tierney - Kevin Labanc|
|F4||Barclay Goodrow - Eric Fehr - Melker Karlsson|
|D1||Joakim Ryan - Brent Burns|
|D2||Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun|
|D3||Brenden Dillon - Dylan Demelo|
|Goaltender||Aaron Dell OR Martin Jones|
*Lines are subject to change.
How to watch Blackhawks at Sharks
Start time: 9 p.m. CT
Location: SAP Center, San Jose
TV: NBC Sports Network/WGN