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At the Rink: Blackhawks at Sharks

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE - The San Jose Sharks, who have won six straight games, will have a new forward when they play the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday at SAP Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-CH).

Dainius Zubrus will make his Sharks and season debut, one day after signing with San Jose as a free agent. He'll skate on the fourth line. Zubrus, who has 225 goals and 584 points in 1,243 career NHL games, played three-plus seasons for coach Peter DeBoer with the New Jersey Devils.

"I played quite a few games for him," Zubrus said. "I have a pretty good feel for what he wants from the guys and how he wants them to play. I think it will be understandable and somewhat easy to adjust.

"It's a different team, a different group of guys, so I'll be a little bit nervous. It doesn't matter how many games you've played, you want to do well, and the team's playing well so you're hoping you can do something to make it even better, and hopefully we'll get a win tonight."

The Sharks (13-8-0) without defenseman Justin Braun. Braun, who skates with Marc-Edouard Vlasic in San Jose's top defensive pair, has an upper body injury that he battled through during the Sharks' 6-0-0 road trip.

"Just wasn't in a good enough place when we got back here for him to play tonight," DeBoer said. "So day-to-day I would term him."

Brent Burns and Paul Martin will be the Sharks' only regular defensive duo against the defending Stanley Cup champions. Brenden Dillon will skate with Vlasic, while Matt Tennyson and Mirco Mueller will form the third defensive pair.

"[Braun's] been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season," DeBoer said. "He's played some outstanding hockey, so we're going to miss him, but it's a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish himself. It's a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he's played and for him to step up. Everybody deals with it. One guys goes down, someone's got to jump in."

The Blackhawks (11-8-2) will play the fourth of six games on their annual "Circus Trip", which runs Nov. 18 to Nov. 28. Chicago is 1-1-1 on its road trip and is coming off a 6-3 loss against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

"We feel like we let one get away last weekend in Vancouver," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "A couple chances against ended up hurting us and lost us the game. We have to have that same effort but try and tighten things up and make sure we're not making those mistakes, try and be better in this next one.

"We know this is a huge point in the road trip where a win tonight can really help our record. So obviously we're focused on the little things we have to do, knowing that they're going to throw everything they've got at us. They got a lot of confidence right now as well."

Blackhawks fourth-line forward Andrew Desjardins will face the Sharks for the second time since San Jose traded him to Chicago for forward Ben Smith on March 2. Desjardins appeared in 21 playoff games during the Blackhawks' championship run.

"It was just crazy," Desjardins said. "Just the whole ride was unbelievable."

Here are the projected lineups:


Andrew Shaw - Jonathan Toews - Ryan Garbutt

Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane

Marko Dano - Marcus Kruger - Marian Hossa

Brandon Mashinter - Tanner Kero - Andrew Desjardins

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Trevor van Riemsdyk - Brent Seabrook

Trevor Daley - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Injured: Teuvo Teravainen (upper body)

Scratched: David Rundblad, Viktor Tikhonov


Melker Karlsson - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Joonas Donskoi - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward

Matt Nieto - Tomas Hertl - Tommy Wingels

Dainius Zubrus - Chris Tierney - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brenden Dillon

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Mirco Mueller- Matt Tennyson

Martin Jones

Alex Stalock

Injured: Logan Couture (broken leg), Ben Smith (concussion), Justin Braun (upper body)

Scratched: Micheal Haley

Status report: Teravainen skated for the second straight day but will miss his third straight game. Quenneville said he expects him to return to the lineup Friday against the Anaheim Ducks. "He seemed better today, he felt better, shot the puck better and looked like he's ready," Quenneville said. ... There's still no timetable for Smith's return. He will miss his12th straight game with a concussion. "One day I think he's a little bit closer than some other days, but the good news is he's on the ice every day, he's skating," DeBoer said. "That tells me he's progressing, but I don't have a time frame."

Who's hot: Kane has a career-high 16-game point streak with 10 goals and 16 assists. ... Anisimov has a five-game point streak (3-3-6) and a two-game goal streak. ... Burns has scored three goals in his past two games. ... Donskoi has a four-game point streak (one goal, three assists).

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