After a two-game road trip, the Chicago Blackhawks are back home as they play host to the San Jose Sharks tonight. The Blackhawks have picked up a point in nine straight games, going 6-0-3 during that stretch. The Sharks have won five of their last seven. This is the second of three meetings between the teams. The Blackhawks won the first meeting 5-1 in Chicago on November 17.
Here are some notes for tonight`s game:
- Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp had two goals and one assist in the first meeting between the teams. Sharp has 14 goals and 21 points over his last 13 games.
- Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith has 10 assists over his last six games. He also has 17 points over his last 12 games.
- The Sharks lead the NHL with 35.9 shots on net per game. The Blackhawks are third at 33 per game. Both teams also average more than three goals per game with the Blackhawks leading the NHL at 3.66.
- Sharks forward Logan Couture has scored a goal in four straight games after going seven games without a point.
- Patrick Marleau has five points over his last three games for the Sharks.
- The Sharks will be without forward Tommy Wingels as he has been placed on the injured reserve with an upper-body injury. Wingels has nine goals and 13 assists on the year.
Battle Between The Pipes
Crawford made his return from injury on Thursday against the New York Islanders and allowed three goals in an overtime loss. Crawford is the Blackhawks clear-cut starter, but he will have to start picking up his play if he wants that to continue. Rookie goaltender Antti Raanta played well in his absence and could steal a few starts away from Crawford.
San Jose Sharks: TBA
The Sharks have yet to announce their starter for tonight's game. Antti Niemi is 22-8-6 this season with a 2.45 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. He has allowed nine goals over his last three games. Alex Stalock is 4-2-0 with a 2.06 goals against average and a .930 save percentage. Niemi played in the first game against the Blackhawks allowing five goals on 27 shots.
Players To Watch
Toews has 18 points over his last 13 games. He is one of the best all around players in the league and continues to get it done on both ends of the ice. Toews is also amongst the league's best in the face off circle.
Thornton has 11 assists during his current seven-game point streak. He leads the team with 47 points and his 42 assists lead the NHL. Thornton has been one of the best passers in the league for years and continues to get his teammates involved at a high rate.
Chicago Blackhawks: Forward, Kris Versteeg: 8 G, 15 A, 23 P
Versteeg had one goal and one assist in the first meeting between the teams. He has played well since being acquired from the Florida Panthers in November, but has been held to only one point over his last four games.
San Jose Sharks: Forward, Brent Burns: 13 G, 11 A, 24 P
The defenseman turned forward has put together a strong season so far. He has eight points over his last six games and despite playing only 29 games so far, ranks fifth on the team in goals and sixth in points.
Tonight`s game starts at 7 pm. CT.
Let`s Go Hawks!
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