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Sharks at Blackhawks preview

San Jose 3-7-1 in past 11 games; Chicago eight points out of first wild card from West

by Brandon Cain / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

SHARKS (29-35-5) at BLACKHAWKS (31-30-8)

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN

 

The Game

The Chicago Blackhawks can gain ground in the Western Conference wild-card race when they play the San Jose Sharks at United Center on Wednesday.

The Blackhawks, who have lost two in a row after a four-game winning streak, trail the Nashville Predators, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets by eight points for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the West.

The Sharks have lost three in a row (0-2-1), 3-7-1 in their past 11 games and 15 points out of a playoff position.

 

Players to watch

Sharks forward Timo Meier has four assists in a three-game point streak.

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has four points (three goals, one assist) in his past four games.

 

They said it

"We have a little over a dozen games left and we're going to fight to the end. Regardless of where we are in the standings and who we're playing or what the score is, we're really just concentrating on and trying to be in every game and competing hard." -- Sharks coach Bob Boughner

"Our thought process is to kind of have a good weekend. These next three games, we'll see what we can do. Maybe we'll go on a little three-game winning streak and all of a sudden, the outlook looks a little bit different for the rest of the season. We know we need to have a good record the rest of the way. We're going to need everyone to be helping out in the lineup, whether you're a young guy and part of the future or you're a guy that's been here a while." -- Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane

 

Sharks projected lineup

Evander Kane -- Noah Gregor -- Kevin Labanc

Marcus Sorensen -- Joe Thornton -- Timo Meier

Melker Karlsson -- Joel Kellman -- Stefan Noesen

Lean Bergmann -- Antti Suomela -- Dylan Gambrell

Radim Simek -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Brandon Davidson

Nikolai Knyzhov -- Tim Heed

Aaron Dell

Martin Jones

Scratched: Nick DeSimone, Alexander True

Injured: Logan Couture (concussion protocol), Mario Ferraro (lower body), Tomas Hertl (left ACL/MCL), Erik Karlsson (left thumb), Jacob Middleton (ankle), Dalton Prout (upper body)

 

Blackhawks projected lineup

Alex DeBrincat -- Jonathan Toews -- Brandon Saad

Alex Nylander -- Dylan Strome -- Patrick Kane

Dominik Kubalik -- Kirby Dach -- Brandon Hagel

Matthew Highmore -- David Kampf -- Ryan Carpenter

Duncan Keith -- Nicolas Beaudin

Olli Maatta -- Slater Koekkoek

Lucas Carlsson -- Connor Murphy

Corey Crawford

Malcolm Subban

Scratched: Nick Seeler

Injured: Adam Boqvist (concussion protocol), Drake Caggiula (right hand), Calvin de Haan (right shoulder), Brent Seabrook (right shoulder/left and right hip), Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol), Zack Smith (back)

 

Status report

Both teams held an optional morning skate. … Couture, a forward, did not travel but could join the Sharks during their four-game road trip. … Beaudin and Hagel will make their NHL debuts. … Carlsson is in for Seeler after missing two games with a concussion. … Crawford will make his 10th straight start.

 

Stat pack

Thornton will play in his 1,636th game to pass Scott Stevens for sole possession of ninth place in NHL history. … The Blackhawks are 0-for-14 on the power play in their past five games.

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