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Hawks set to host Sharks -- without Toews

by Brian Compton /
SHARKS (19-13-5) at BLACKHAWKS (20-15-3)

TV: CSN-CA, CSN-Chicago.

Last 10: San Jose 5-4-1; Chicago 6-3-1.

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. San Jose will be looking to make it three in a row against Chicago after beating the Blackhawks on Nov. 24 and Dec. 11. Both of those games took place at HP Pavilion.

Big Story: Not long after getting forwards Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa back from injuries, the Blackhawks learned on Wednesday they will now be without captain Jonathan Toews for two weeks after an apparent shoulder injury suffered on Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.
"He's going to be out probably a couple of weeks," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said after Wednesday's practice at the United Center. "We've had some guys in and out, so the consistency in our lineup hasn't been in place. At the same time, no matter who it is you've got to deal with it. We've lost some key guys and got through some pretty big games in a recent stretch here at home. So it's up to us to find ways."

Team Scope:

Sharks: San Jose seemed to be on track after winning four straight before the holiday break. But a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday and another third-period meltdown Wednesday resulted in a 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

"It's unacceptable," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "It's ridiculous now. That's not how you're going to win games and win the postseason."

Blackhawks: Chicago has company in the Western Conference standings after Tuesday's loss at St. Louis, as the Blues moved into a seventh-place tie with the defending Stanley Cup champs. The Blackhawks were outshot 18-7 in the opening period and trailed 25-8 in that department when Vladimir Sobotka scored in the second.

"Maybe you get Kane and Hossa back, you think it's going to be easy again," Quenneville said. "What made us effective is we played hard and simple and played for each other. We've got to get rid of the cutesy stuff."

Who's Hot: Thornton had a goal and an assist Wednesday night and now leads the Sharks with 34 points. … Hawks forward Patrick Sharp has two goals and two assists in his last four games.

Injury Report: The Sharks played without center Joe Pavelski and defensemen Torrey Mitchell on Wednesday night. Both stayed in San Jose because of lower-body injuries. … Besides Toews, the Hawks could also be without Fernando Pisani and Corey Crawford, who are battling the flu.

Stat Pack: Chicago goalie Marty Turco made 40 saves against the Blues. Turco saw a season-high 43 shots. It was the third time he has seen more than 40 shots in a game this season.

Puck Drop:  "We've got a lot of guys who deserve some quality time, and at the same time some leadership responsibilities. Certainly Johnny's a big piece and a key guy. Some of that leadership responsibility can be shared throughout the lineup, and off of (Tuesday's) game I think we're looking for everybody to contribute in a lot of different ways -- not just leadership." -- Chicago coach Joel Quenneville
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