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Blackhawks close out road trip against reeling Sharks

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San Jose has been outscored 22-8 during its five-game skid.

Chicago Blackhawks v San Jose Sharks Photo by Scott Dinn/NHLI via Getty Images

The Blackhawks will conclude their four-game road trip Tuesday night when they visit a struggling Sharks team at the SAP Center.

Chicago started their trip with a 3-0 loss a week ago in Nashville then managed to grab three of a possible four points during a back-to-back with a 4-3 overtime loss in Los Angeles and a 3-2 overtime win in Anaheim. Patrick Kane scored the game-winner 24 seconds into overtime off a feed from Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith for an all-Conn Smythe goal. It was only the second win in the past eight games for Chicago.

Rookie defenseman Adam Boqvist made his NHL debut Saturday and scored his first career NHL goal Sunday for the first goal by a Blackhawks blue liner at 5-on-5 this season. He’s the third Chicago rookie to score a goal in his second NHL game, joining Dominik Kubalik and Kirby Dach.

Alex Nylander tallied an assist in each game during the back-to-back and is up to seven points (two goals, five assists) in 12 games which is tied for third with Dylan Strome on the team in scoring. Nylander’s play — both offensively and defensively — has seen him rise to the top line alongside Brandon Saad and Toews, who linked up with Nylander on Boqvist’s goal. Saad, however, hasn’t scored a point in five straight games, but that could change quickly with his new linemates.

Robin Lehner is slated to start after a 36-save performance against the Ducks. He’s 3-2-2 with a .939 save percentage, which ranks third in the NHL behind Boston’s Tuukka Rask (.949) and Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper (.940). Lehner is 1-5 with a .924 save percentage in six career starts against the Sharks.

San Jose has been outscored 22-8 during its five-game losing streak after a 5-2 loss to the Canucks on Saturday night, when they fell behind 4-0 only 25:11 into the game. Slow starts are one of several things that have contributed to the Sharks’ slide as they’ve allowed the first goal a league-high 11 times in 15 games, and only managed to make a comeback in two of those outings.

The Sharks should be better defensively Tuesday with Radim Simek’s expected return from tearing his ACL and MCL last March. Prior to the injuries, Simek paired with Brent Burns on San Jose’s top defensive line.

Chicago hasn’t found much success on the power play with a 12.8-percent conversion rate, which ranks 28th in the NHL. If the Blackhawks get an opportunity on the man advantage they’ll likely have even more trouble scoring against the Sharks’ top-ranked penalty kill that has plenty of bite.

Burns leads the Sharks with 11 assists and 14 points. Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane are tied for second with 12 points, and Kane has a team-high eight goals. Martin Jones is expected to start in net against Chicago. He’s 2-7-1 with a 3.52 goals-against average and .887 save percentage this season.

Season series

The Blackhawks’ lost their home opener, 5-4, to the Sharks on Oct. 10. Patrick Marleau scored twice in his first game back with San Jose and Burns tallied his 200th NHL goal and had an assist. Aaron Dell made 26 saves.

Andrew Shaw netted two goals, Kubalik had his first NHL goal and Corey Crawford made 29 saves.

Tale of the tape

Blackhawks — Statistic — Sharks

47.3% (27th) — Corsi For — 50.2% (14th)

48.7% (22nd) — Faceoffs — 51.5% (7th)

2.38 (28th) — Goals per game — 2.40 (27th)

3.00 (t-16th) — Goals against per game — 3.73 (4th)

12.8% (28th) — Power play — 22% (13th)

79.1% (21st) — Penalty kill — 89.6% (1st)

Lineups

Blackhawks

Saad — Toews — Nylander

DeBrincat — Strome — Kane

Kubalik — Kampf — Dach

Caggiula — Carpenter — Shaw

Keith — Boqvist

De Haan — Seabrook

Maatta — Gustafsson

Lehner

Crawford

Sharks

Kane — Couture — Labanc

Meier — Hertl — Goodrow

Sorensen — Thornton — Marleau

Bergmann — Gregor — Radil

Simek — Burns

Vlasic — Karlsson

Dillon - Ferraro

Jones

Dell

How to watch

When: 9 p.m.

Where: SAP Center; San Jose, California

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Live stream: NBC Sports app