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Sharks aim for sweep of Hawks

by Brian Compton
SHARKS (39-22-8) at BLACKHAWKS (37-24-8)

TV: Versus, TSN2.

Last 10: San Jose 7-1-2; Chicago 7-1-2.

Season Series: This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams that reached the Western Conference Finals last season. The Sharks are going for a season sweep of the Blackhawks, as they've outscored Chicago 12-6 in three victories.

Big Story: Much of North America will have the opportunity to watch this must-see showdown featuring two teams that enter Monday's action having earned points in nine of their last 10 games. Chicago managed to pick up a point Sunday afternoon when Jonathan Toews erased a 3-2 deficit at 19:21 of the third period. The Blackhawks ultimately lost in overtime to the Washington Capitals, but every point is crucial when you consider just how tight the standings are in the Western Conference.

"We'll take the point. We weren't very good today," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "They played well. They played hard. I thought we had a little delay in our game."

Team Scope:

Sharks: San Jose will be hoping to avoid a three-game winless streak, although the Sharks have also managed to earn points in back-to-back losses. After suffering a 5-4 shootout loss to Vancouver on Thursday, the Sharks dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the New York Rangers at HP Pavilion on Saturday night.

"We're at the point of the season now where a point isn't good enough," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "We had our chances, for sure. You never know if that point could cost us in the end. Hopefully it doesn't."

Blackhawks: While Chicago was able to get a point Sunday, it has followed an eight-game winning streak with a three-game winless skid. The Blackhawks suffered a 3-2 regulation loss at Florida on Tuesday before dropping a 4-3 shootout decision at Tampa Bay just 24 hours later.

"When we get that chance to be back in the games, there's no reason to be satisfied with one point," Toews said. "That's two overtime losses in the last couple games and we can't be happy with just getting one point out of each of those games."

Who's Hot: Sharks forward Patrick Marleau has five points his last five games. … Toews has four points in his last two contests.

Injury Report: The Sharks are likely to be without Scott Nichol (upper body) and Kent Huskins (upper body). … Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell was forced to leave in the middle of Sunday's game due to a foot injury, which means it's unlikely he'll play Monday night. Dave Bolland (head) is questionable and Jordan Hendry is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Stat Pack: With 110 points and 215 penalty minutes, Sharks winger Ryane Clowe is one of just two players in the League with at least 100 points and 200 penalty minutes since the beginning of last season. Anaheim's Corey Perry is the other.

Puck Drop: "We need [points]. To take some positives, we got the one point. We battled back to get it -- take that going into the next game and use that as motivation to get two points tomorrow." -- Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith
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