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, 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.
Per #SJSharks DeBoer, Donskoi day to day but won't be available for tomorrow vs. CHI. Haley looks like he'll be available
— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) January 30, 2017
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
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
Chicago Blackhawks – 30-16-5 (65 points)
Road Record: 12-9-1
Hot Players: Duncan Keith
Key Injuries: Michal Rozsival
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
1)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.
2)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.
3) 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.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) January 31, 2017
4)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.
5)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.
6)The Sharks own a 47-33-5-8 all-time record against the Blackhawks.