Hawks/Sharks will history be made?
The Blackhawks take on the San Jose Sharks for the last time this season. Oh and by the way, there is the small matter of the Hawks also attempting to rewrite history as well. They will be going for an NHL record of 17 consecutive games in which they will have gained at least one point and remain undefeated in regulation.
While the Sharks have cooled off significantly from their hot start they have bounced back in their last game with a win Tuesday night over the St. Louis Blues 2-1. The Sharks are now second in the Pacific division behind red hot Anaheim and will be looking to pick up as many points as possible to keep pace.
Last Friday when these two clubs meet there was a ramped up level of animosity and this will probably continue. It will be interesting to see if there are any more Toews/Thornton bouts or altercations. If there is will it spark their teams as it did last time for the Blackhawks?
Last game the Sharks were really not at their best the Blackhawks thoroughly dominated them in every aspect of the game. The Sharks should be rested coming into this game.
The Blackhawks can sweep this series and cut out a place for themselves in the NHL history books if they stay on the Sharks with relentless forechecking. The Sharks are the worst team in the NHL in turnovers.
If the Hawks can force some in the Sharks zone they may be able to capitalize. The Blackhawks third and fourth lines can play a crutial role here and could impact this game.
The Sharks scoring has dried up a bit. Patrick Marleau has cooled off a bit. If the Hawks can get an early lead they could put this one to bed early with the Sharks struggling a bit to sink pucks in the net.
Ray Emery will be in nets for the Hawks and look for Antti Niemi to be the Sharks goal. Niemi is currently ranked 8th in the league in both GAA & Sv%. He has however looked just average against his former team in the previous outings with some uncharacteristic misplays of the puck.
Injury Report: Chicago’s Dan Carcillo is practicing with the team, but not expected back until later. Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford all practiced with the team. Seabrook will be in the lineup Friday. Look for a possible return to action by Hossa.
San Jose’s James Sheppard is on IR with a lower body injury.
Blackhawks record: 13 -0-3
Sharks record: 8-4-3
Time: 7:30pm CST
Location: United Center
Where to watch: NHLN-US, CSN-CH, CSN-CA
Where to listen: WGN 720, KFOX
Next 2 games: Sun 2/24 vs Columbus; Mon 2/25 vs Edmonton