Preview: Sharks and Blackhawks Return to Action in San Jose

The San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks get back to work tonight at the SAP Center in San Jose. Both teams are coming off losses in the final game ahead of the All-Star break. The Sharks were toothless in a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The Blackhawks fell again to the Winnipeg Jets, who somehow have Chicago’s number. The two teams are 1-1 against each other and tonight’s contest is the rubber match of the season series.

Blackhawks Road Trip Starts in San Jose

No team sent more players to the NHL’s All-Star Weekend than the Blackhawks.

Jonathan Toews [photo: Amy Irvin]
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford all participated in the festivities down in Los Angeles and rejoined the Central Division powerhouse in San Jose. Chicago is four points behind the division-leading Minnesota Wild despite having played three more games.  The ‘Hawks called up young Swedish defender Gustav Forsling from the Rockford Ice Hogs to replace Micheal Rozsival, who went on the injured reserve list.

The Blackhawks are on the first stop of a six-game road trip, beginning tonight in San Jose. Seven of the Blackhawks 10 games during February are away from the comfy confines of the United Center.

Sharks Hopefully Recharged

The schedule was brutal for the Sharks heading into the All-Star break. San Jose played seven games in 11 nights with two back-to-backs that required a lot of travel. The team looked tired and without much energy towards the end of the brutal stretch and found a way to go 6-1 and keep atop the Pacific Division race.

The Sharks completed a paper transaction with Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc playing a game each with the San Jose Barracuda over the weekend. Both youngsters are back with the club and should suit up for tonight’s tilt against the Blackhawks. Hopefully, the Sharks’ veteran players got some much-needed relaxation time and some life back into their weary legs. The Sharks forward group continues to face a few bumps and bruises that keep the full roster on the shelf. Joonas Donskoi will not play tonight. It is the third straight game Donskoi will miss and six of his last nine contests.

Chicago Blackhawks at San Jose Sharks

SAP Center – 7:30 p.m. PST

Broadcast channels – CSN-CA, CSN

Radio: Sharks Radio Network, WGN 720 AM

2016-17 Season Series: 

Nov. 23: Sharks 2 – Blackhawks 1

Dec. 18: Blackhawks 4 – Sharks 1

San Jose Sharks – 31-17-2 (64 Points)

Home Record: 17-7-1

Hot Players: Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Mikkel Boedker

Key Injuries: Dylan DeMelo, Micheal Haley

Projected Lines:


Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Kevin Labanc

Mikkel Boedker – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward

Timo Meier  – Ryan Carpenter – Mikkel Boedker


Paul Martin – Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Starting Goaltender:

Martin Jones

Chicago Blackhawks – 30-16-5 (65 points)

Road Record: 12-9-1

Hot Players: Duncan Keith

Key Injuries: Michal Rozsival 

Projected Lines:


Nick Schmaltz – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin – Artem Anisimov – Patrick Kane

Andrew Desjardins – Dennis Rasmussen -Richard Panik

Ryan Hartman – Tanner Kero – Vinnie Hinostroza


Duncan Keith – Niklas Hjalmarsson

Brian Campbell – Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling – Trevor van Riemsdyk

Starting Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Corey Crawford
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Game Notes

Rumor Patrick Marleau, Milestones, NHL, San Jose Sharks
(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Patrick Marleau is only two goals away from 500 for his illustrious career. For his career, Marleau’s potted 20 goals in 69 games against the Blackhawks, tied for the third lowest goal total of any NHL team he’s faced more than 50 times.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]San Jose and Chicago are both going with their top netminders tonight. Interestingly, both the backups for this contest Scott Darling for the Blackhawks and Aaron Dell for the Sharks have better save percentages than the two starters.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] All-star defenseman Brent Burns‘ season for the record books continues after a good showing in Los Angeles at the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend. Burns leads the Sharks and all defenseman in the NHL with 51 points, 21 of which have been goals. Burns also leads the Sharks in time on ice at 24:55 per contest.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Sharks middling power play could have a chance to get back on track tonight. The Blackhawks rank 28th in the NHL on the penalty kill, with a 75.9% kill rate.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Sharks second line (on paper) have some good point streaks going. Couture has three goals and three assists in his last six games. Marleau and Mikkel Boedker both are on three-game streaks: Marleau with five goals and a helper and Boedker adding four assists.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]6)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Sharks own a 47-33-5-8 all-time record against the Blackhawks.