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Blackhawks look to avoid 3rd straight loss vs. Sharks

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Chicago is 1-4-1 in its past six games against San Jose, including two losses this season.

San Jose Sharks v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

The Blackhawks will look to avoid their third straight lost and gain ground in the Western Conference wild-card race when they play the Sharks on Wednesday at the United Center.

After losses to the Red Wings and Blues, the Blackhawks’ playoff hopes are effectively over, as Chicago’s postseason chances have dropped below eight percent.

Chicago (31-30-8) has scored just one goal in two games. Jake Allen got his second shutout in Chicago this season as the Blues swept the season series against the Blackhawks for the first time with a 2-0 win. In Detroit, the Red Wings scored two goals on Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks, who were playing in the second game of a back-to-back set, were able to put up just one on Detroit. The Blackhawks are 0-for-14 on the power play in their past five games.

Defenseman Nicolas Beaudin and forward Brandon Hagel will make their NHL debuts for Chicago on Wednesday after they were both recalled earlier this week. It’s the first NHL call-up for Beaudin, while it’s the third for Hagel. Beaudin was the first of a possible four NHL call-ups after the NHL trade deadline Chicago can use.

Additionally, rookie defenseman Lucas Carlsson has been released from concussion protocol and will slide back into the lineup as Connor Murphy’s defensive partner. Nick Seeler will be a healthy scratch.

Luckily, a lack of scoring shouldn’t be a problem against the Sharks, who have lost two of their best defensemen in Erik Karlsson (broken thumb). Their goaltending has been consistently bad the past few years, as Martin Jones has just a .896 save percentage in 41 appearances this season, the same far-below average rate he had last season.

Aaron Dell, who is slated to start for San Jose, has performed a bit better for the Sharks this season with a .909 save-percentage in 32 appearances.

San Jose (29-35-5) in a very similar spot as the Blackhawks, coming in off a three-game losing streak. This season has been a disappointment, as not only have they lost several crucial players to injury, including Karlsson and Tomas Hertl, but they haven’t gotten as much offense as likely would be hoped and their defense has not shielded bad goaltending throughout the season. They’ve fallen far below the likely playoff aspirations many had them having this season after multiple runs in past years.

The Sharks are led by Timo Meier, who has scored just 47 points in what many projected as his breakout season, and Evander Kane has the team lead with 25 goals. Patrick Marleau and Barclay Goodrow, both traded at the deadline, also were significant contributors in the Sharks’ lineup this season.

San Jose also won’t have captain Logan Couture (concussion) in the lineup as he didn’t travel with the team.

The Sharks must also face the coming dilemma of a difficult home situation, where the global virus has placed their home district in lockdown for crowds greater than 1,000. This could be a distraction for the team itself, as well as the franchise.

Season series

San Jose won both games in the season series to this point, however, so this will be a contest where the Blackhawks are looking to avoid back-to-back season series sweeps after losing to the Blues. Chicago is 1-4-1 in its past six games against San Jose.

Tale of the tape

Blackhawks — Stat — Sharks

48.7% (22nd) — Corsi For — 50.5% (14th)

46.5% (28th) — Expected goals for — 50.0% (17th)

2.93 (19th) — Goals per game — 2.58 (26th)

3.07 (17th) — Goals against per game — 3.17 (27th)

14.5% (30th) — Power play — 17.2% (25th)

82.3% (7th) — Penalty kill — 86.4% (1st)

49.9% (17th) — Faceoffs — 49.0% (23rd)

Projected lineups

Blackhawks

DeBrincat — Toews — Saad

Nylander — Strome — Kane

Kubalik — Dach — Hagel

Highmore — Kampf — Carpenter

Keith — Beaudin

Maatta — Koekkoek

Carlsson — Murphy

Crawford

Subban

Sharks

Kane — Gregor — Labanc

Sorensen — Thornton — Meier

Karlsson — Kellman — Noesen

Bergmann — Suomela — Gambrell

Simek — Burns

Vlasic — Heed

Knyzhov — Davidson

Dell

Jones

How to watch

When: 7 p.m.

Where: United Center, Chicago

TV: NBC Sports Network

Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV