That alone is reason enough for the Sharks to view this game as something bigger than just another regular-season game. Even though it's still only for two points, the outcome means more to them than just that.
"Of course you want to say that every game is just as important, but obviously certain games are a little easier to get up for and this is one of them," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle told NHL.com. "They're going for a NHL record and we'd love to put a stop to it. If anything it motivates you to not want to be that team. You don't want to be that team that goes down in the record books on the losing side of anything."
"It's a pretty impressive streak and obviously we're happy with the chance to stop it," added Sharks forward Joe Pavelski. "We'd like to end it."
Sharks coach Todd McLellan agrees with that assessment, but he'd prefer his team use its own form of motivation Friday -- like trying to build on their 2-1 win in St. Louis on Tuesday -- instead of trying to stop the Blackhawks' season-opening run.
The Sharks' win Tuesday was their first in February and it snapped a seven-game winless streak.
"I think it [another team chasing a record] can give us an external motivator, but I'd rather it be internal," McLellan said. "I'd rather us talk about getting on a winning streak. We've got one in the bank now; can we extend it to two? I'd rather it come from our locker room and not use their situation as the driver. But I'd be lying if I said otherwise. I think it does give us a bit of a push, but it probably gives their team a push, too."
The Sharks are also 0-2 against the Blackhawks this season and have been outscored by a combined 9-4. This is the last time they will face Chicago this season and McLellan said that also should serve as a motivator for his team.
"Last chance," he said. "That's a six-point swing and in a 48-game season you don't get a chance to get those points back. It really gives them a cushion that is quite large. We'd love to get two points in the bank against this team, get a little bit of confidence, be able to play in this building successfully. It's a great challenge for our group [Friday]."
Here is San Jose's projected lineup for the game Friday night:
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