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Blackhawks at Sharks preview

San Jose goaltender Jones looks to stay sharp; Highmore will make NHL debut for Chicago

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (27-28-8) AT SHARKS (34-21-9)

10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, WGN, NHL.TV


The Game

San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones, who has allowed two goals or fewer in 10 of his past 12 starts, looks to continue his strong play when the Sharks host the Chicago Blackhawks at SAP Center on Thursday.

Jones is 6-4-2 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .938 save percentage since Jan. 31, and will make his 45th start this season for San Jose, which is 1-2-1 in its past four games after going 5-1-0 in its previous six games.

The Sharks are in second place in the Pacific Division, 10 points behind the Vegas Golden Knights and two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings. 

Forward Matthew Highmore will make his NHL debut and goaltender J-F Berube will start for the Blackhawks, 3-2-0 in their past five games following an eight-game losing streak (0-7-1). 

Highmore, 22, was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Monday; he has 35 points (21 goals, 14 assists) in 56 AHL games this season. 

Chicago trails the Anaheim Ducks by 12 points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.


Players to watch

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past four games after having no points in his previous five games.

Sharks center Joe Pavelski has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in his past 11 games. 


They said it

"Just very excited. Obviously it's a dream come true. It's something that I think as a little kid you always dream of." -- Blackhawks forward Matthew Highmore, who will make his NHL debut Thursday

"He's healthy and he's in a rhythm right now. I think he's getting comfortable in that every other day rhythm, and that's important for goalies." -- Sharks coach Peter DeBoer on goaltender Martin Jones


Blackhawks projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Jonathan Toews -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Tomas Jurco -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Alex DeBrincat -- Nick Schmaltz -- Matthew Highmore

Patrick Sharp -- David Kampf -- Anthony Duclair

Duncan Keith -- Jordan Oesterle

Connor Murphy -- Brent Seabrook

Erik Gustafsson -- Carl Dahlstrom

J-F Berube

Anton Forsberg

Scratched: None

Injured: Corey Crawford (upper body), Jan Rutta (lower body)


Sharks projected lineup

Evander Kane - Joe Pavelski -- Joonas Donskoi

Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker

Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Kevin Labanc

Marcus Sorensen -- Barclay Goodrow -- Melker Karlsson

Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Tim Heed, Paul Martin, Jannik Hansen

Injured: Joe Thornton (knee), Joel Ward (shoulder), Eric Fehr (lower body)


Status report

Rutta did not skate and is day to day. … DeBoer called Fehr's injury minor and said he expects him to return soon. ... Ward has resumed skating but is not close to returning.


Stat pack

Toews has no points in his past four games after having seven (two goals, five assists) in his previous seven. ... Boedker has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his past eight games.

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