Preview: Blackhawks & Sharks Hope to Continue Streaking

The Chicago Blackhawks look to continue their hot streak as they face off against the reigning Western Conference Champions San Jose Sharks. The Blackhawks return to the United Center after a three-game road trip that saw them triumph over the New York Rangers, New York Islanders and then the St Louis Blues. This 3-0-0 jaunt continued their solid play of late as it has been two weeks since they have lost in regulation.

The Blackhawks currently sit atop the NHL standings and look to keep rolling Sunday against the Pacific division leaders. One small problem is that the Blackhawks may be without Artem Anisimov as he was injured during last night’s bout with the Blues, and is considered day-to-day. The Sharks will look to take advantage of this as they look for their fifth win in a row to close out their own current road trip. With a roster that has been giving younger players a shot this year, the Sharks hope to have that vibrant youth in their step after the Blackhawks are in the later half of a back-to-back.

San Jose Sharks at Chicago Blackhawks

United Center – 6:00 p.m. CT on Sunday, Dec. 18.

Broadcast channels – NHLN, WGN, CSN-CA

2016-17 Season Series: 

November 23 – Blackhawks 1 – Sharks 2

Chicago Blackhawks – 21-8-4 – 46 Points

Home Record: 12-2-3

Hot Players: Artemi Panarin, Marian Hossa

Key Injuries: Corey Crawford, Artem Anisimov

Projected lines:


Artemi Panarin – Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane

Ryan Hartman – Andrew Desjardins – Marian Hossa

Dennis Rasmussen – Marcus Kruger – Richard Panik

Tyler Motte – Vinnie Hinostroza – Jordin Tootoo


Duncan Keith – Niklas Hjalmarsson

Brian Campbell – Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling – Trevor van Riemsdyk

Starting Goaltender:

Scott Darling


San Jose Sharks – 19-11-1 – 39 Points

Home Record:9-7-1

Hot Players: B. Burns

Key Injuries: Tomas Hertl

Projected lines:


Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski

Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker

Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi

Melker Karlsson – Tommy Wingels – Joel Ward


Paul Martin – Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Starting Goaltender:

Martin Jones

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Blackhawks have won four straight games and have points in each of their last six games. The Sharks have also won four straight games and are looking to complete their road trip sweep. It should be a closely contested, high-energy game.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Artemi Panarin is tied for ninth in the NHL in goals (14), tied for 19th in assists (18), tied for sixth in points (32), and tied for 12th in power play goals (5). He will earn a $1.725M bonus this year by finishing in the top 10 in any category, which would cause an interesting conundrum for the cap-strapped Blackhawks.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]Brent Burns leads all NHL defensemen with 29 points through 31 games played. He has the most goals amongst defensemen (13) and ranks ninth in assists amongst defensemen (16). The large-bearded, large personality blueliner also leads the team with 133 shots and will be tough for the Blackhawks to contain.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]Duncan Keith is still without a goal this year after firing 72 shots on net. Despite the failure to find twine, he is only 1 assist behind Parick Kane, who leads the team with 22. Keith also averages over 26 minutes of ice-time per night, making a large impact on every game.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]Scott Darling has displayed some fatigue in the previous games and initially it looked like he would cede the net to Lars Johansson, while Corey Crawford remains sidelined due to an emergency appendectomy. Scott Darling indeed will continue to start, as he apparently convinced Joel Quenneville that he was ready to play after weathering a pair of four-goal games versus the Islanders and Blues.