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Preview: Blackhawks at Sharks

Chicago shuffles lines out of All-Star break; Tomas Hertl in second game back for San Jose

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (30-16-5) at SHARKS (31-17-2)

10:30 p.m. ET; CSN-CH, CSN-CA, NHL.TV

Blackhawks team scope

The Chicago Blackhawks shuffled three of their four lines in hopes of sparking an offense that scored a combined five goals in back-to-back losses prior to the All-Star break. First-line center Jonathan Toews will have new linemates: rookie left wing Nick Schmaltz and veteran right wing Marian Hossa. Schmaltz will play his seventh straight game since being recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League and 33rd NHL game. "What's not to like?" Toews said. "Hossa's been playing great all year. Schmaltz is really coming into his game. He's getting more and more confident." Center Artem Anisimov and wings Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin remain together on the second line. The third line will have rookies Ryan Hartman, Tanner Kero and Vinnie Hinostroza. "They certainly give you energy," coach Joel Quenneville said. "They've got some skill. Predictability is what we're looking for across the board . These guys being responsible is part of it, but certainly there's some offense there and some energy we can take from it."


Sharks team scope

San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said he expects them to get back up to speed quickly, in part because of their opponent. "You never wish to play Chicago, I don't think, but the nice thing about playing them is it immediately grabs the guys' attention," DeBoer said. "We've got to be dialed in and our attention to detail has to be right or they make you pay." San Jose defeated Chicago 2-1 on Nov. 23 at SAP Center and lost 4-1 on Dec. 18 at United Center. "That's a good measuring stick for us to see where we're at," defenseman Paul Martin said. The Sharks' six-game winning streak ended with a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday in San Jose, which created a tie for first place in the Pacific Division. The lineup will be the same as that game, which means Tomas Hertl, who returned after missing 32 games with a knee injury, will remain at left wing on the top line with center Joe Thornton and right wing Joe Pavelski. "I thought he did a good job," DeBoer said. "He missed thirty-plus games and a lot of hockey. No matter what you do off the ice or in practice or with the coaches, it doesn't mimic the battles of a game. I thought he started strongly. I expected it. And he faded as the game went on, like I expected. He's just going to get better and better."


Blackhawks projected lineup

Nick Schmaltz -- Jonathan Toews -- Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Ryan Hartman -- Tanner Kero -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Andrew Desjardins -- Dennis Rasmussen -- Richard Panik

Duncan Keith -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Brian Campbell -- Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Michal Kempny, Jordin Tootoo

Injured: Marcus Kruger (illness), Michal Rozsival (lower body)


Sharks projected lineup

Tomas Hertl -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker

Kevin Labanc -- Chris Tierney -- Joel Ward

Timo Meier -- Ryan Carpenter -- Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Micheal Haley, Tim Heed

Injured: Joonas Donskoi (upper body), Dylan DeMelo (wrist)


Status update

Kruger returned to lineup Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets after missing 11 games with a hand injury. ... Forsling, who was recalled from Rockford on Sunday, is in the lineup in place of Kempny. … Rasmussen returns to the lineup after missing one game with an illness. ... Anisimov missed practice Monday with an illness but skated Tuesday and is expected to play. ... Crawford will make his third start in four games. ... Jones will make his 43rd start of the season. ... Haley (lower body) is off injured reserve and skated but will miss his sixth straight game. "He's really close," DeBoer said. "Probably would be available to us tonight if we really needed him. I think it's really important to give him an extra day." ... Donskoi will miss his third straight game.


Who's hot

Toews has two goals and four assists in his past three games. ... Marleau, who has 498 NHL goals, is on a three-game point streak (five goals, one assist). ... Burns has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in his past 12 games. ... Couture has a five-game point streak (three goals, three assists).

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