clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Blackhawks to finish California trip against Sharks

New, comments

Chicago clashes with San Jose in dire need of two points.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Following a 6-3 loss to the Western Conference basement dwellers, the Los Angeles Kings, Saturday afternoon, the Blackhawks head to San Jose to battle the Sharks. In their previous matchup in December, the Sharks dominated the Blackhawks at the United Center with a 7-3 victory and knocked Corey Crawford out for two months with a concussion.

Currently, the Sharks sit in second place in the Pacific Division five points behind the Calgary Flames. In their last ten games, San Jose is 6-3-1, and are coming off a 4-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche Friday night.

The Sharks have been an offensive juggernaut this season and just added another gifted scorer in Gustav Nyquist from the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline. San Jose has the most goals in the Western Conference with 233, which ties them for second in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The only team they trail in goals scored is the Stanley Cup favorite, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have 252.

Additionally, the Sharks sit in third place in the NHL in high danger chances generated, which does not bode well for the Blackhawks who have given up 38 more high danger chances than any other team in the league. Whether it is on the fourth best power play in the NHL or 5-on-5, the Sharks have a handful of offensively gifted players that will capitalize on mistakes.

Heavily bearded defenseman Brent Burns, leads the team in points with 71 (13 G, 58 A). He also has the most points in the NHL as a defenseman with nine more than Toronto’s Morgan Rielly. After Burns, the Sharks have seven more skaters with 40 or more points on the season, such as Joe Pavelski (61), Logan Couture (59), Tomas Hertl (57), Evander Kane (51), and Erik Karlsson (45), who was acquired in a trade with the Ottawa Senators in September.

On the the other hand, the Blackhawks only have four skaters that have 40 or more points. Chicago is led by MVP candidate, Patrick Kane, who still sits second in the NHL with 94 points (40 G, 54 A) and is trailing Nikita Kucherov by 12 points for the league lead. Kane also trails Alex Ovechkin by five goals in the Rocket Richard trophy race. Jonathan Toews, who is having a bounce back season offensively, is second on the team with 66 points (29 G, 37 A). Alex DeBrincat is close behind with 64 points (36 G, 28 A) and is on pace to to score 45 goals. Defenseman Erik Gustafsson comes in fourth on the team with 47 points (12 G, 35 A), which puts him the top 10 in the NHL for scoring by defensemen.

Chicago has a tough task ahead. The Blackhawks are coming off a dreadful loss to the Kings, and come to the Shark Tank, where they have lost three straight, in desperate need of two points. After a Minnesota Wild victory Saturday night, Chicago are now seven points out of a Wild Card spot.

Cam Ward (3.71 GAA, 0.893 save-percentage) is expected to start in net for the Blackhawks, while Martin Jones (2.95 GAA, 0.896 save-percentage) draws the start for the Sharks.

With recent injury news coming from San Jose, the Blackhawks will not face two of the Sharks’ top skaters Sunday night.

Injury Report

Blackhawks

Drake Caggiula - Concussion

David Kampf - Broken bone in right foot

Sharks

Erik Karlsson - Groin

Evander Kane - Mid-body. Considered not serious by head coach, Peter DeBoer. Out Sunday night against Chicago.

Lineups

*Subject to change

Blackhawks (Updated during pre-game warmups)

Kunitz — Toews — Kane

DeBrincat — Strome — Perlini

Saad — Anisimov — Sikura

Hayden — Kruger — Sikura

Keith — Gustafsson

Forsling — Seabrook

Dahlstrom — Murphy

Ward

Crawford

Sharks

Meier — CouturePavelski

Labanc — Hertl— Donskoi

Sorensen — Thornton — Nyquist

Haley - Goodrow - Karlsson

Simek — Burns

Heed — Vlasic

Dillon — Braun

Jones

Dell

How to watch

When: 9 p.m., Central

Where: SAP Center, San Jose

TV: NBC Sports Chicago