Having waged a season-long battle for first place in the Western Conference and the best overall record in the National Hockey League, the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks will meet face-to-face for the fourth and final time in the 2009-10 regular season Thursday night at HP Pavilion. And NHL Network™ U.S. will be on hand to broadcast the clash in HD to a nationwide audience.
Relentlessly pursuing their third straight Pacific Division title and second Presidents’ Trophy in a row, the Sharks have won five straight games and possess the League’s top record, 35-10-8. Forwards Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley all rank among the NHL’s top 10 scorers. And Evgeni Nabokov is among the top five goaltenders in the League in wins (30), goals against average (2.17), save percentage (.928) and shutouts (five).
All-Star San Jose defenseman Dan Boyle, who ranks third among NHL blueliners in scoring with 10 goals and 33 assists, will preview the clash when he appears this afternoon on NHL Live!, which is broadcast every weekday from noon to 2 p.m. ET on Sirius XM Radio, simulcast on NHL Network and streamed live on NHL.com.
Following up their resounding run to the Western Conference Final last season, the Blackhawks sit atop the Central Division with a 36-13-4 record and are just two points behind San Jose for first place overall in the NHL. Winger Patrick Kane
leads the Hawks and ranks sixth in the NHL in scoring with 59 points (21-38-59). Defenseman Duncan Keith
has 11 goals and 37 assists and is making a run at his first Norris Trophy.
Chicago has won two of the teams’ three meetings this season. A goal 41 seconds into overtime by D Brent Seabrook
gave the ‘Hawks a 4-3 victory in Chicago Nov. 15. RW Marian Hossa
scored two goals in his Blackhawks debut in a 7-2 Chicago romp ten days later in San Jose. Nabokov stole the show Dec. 22 in Chicago, when the Blackhawks outshot the Sharks, 47-14, only to have San Jose prevail, 3-2, on a goal and assist each by Thornton and Heatley.