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Sharks-Blackhawks Preview @NHL

The San Jose Sharks need a win Wednesday night to salvage a split of their season-opening four-game road trip. Given their recent history against the Chicago Blackhawks, they appear likely to get that victory.

San Jose looks to defeat Chicago for the eighth consecutive time when the teams face off at the United Center.

The seven-game winning streak is the Sharks' longest active run over any Western Conference opponent. San Jose has defeated Washington 10 straight times.

The Sharks (1-1-1) have outscored Chicago 28-12 to win all seven meetings between the clubs since Oct. 15, 2005. Three of those games took place at the United Center, including a 4-1 San Jose victory on March 21, when Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek each scored twice and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 28 shots.

Nabokov didn't fare as well in Sunday's 6-2 loss at Colorado, giving up all six goals - four in the final period - on 23 shots before getting pulled for Dimitri Patzold midway through the third.

"We have to play better without the puck, and we just didn't compete," San Jose coach Ron Wilson said. "When you are that sloppy you are going to get embarrassed, and we were."

Nabokov was nearly impenetrable against Chicago in 2006-07, defeating the Blackhawks three times while allowing just two goals on 69 shots.

Left wing Ryane Clowe scored his first two goals of the season Sunday to provide the Sharks' offense. Clowe has no goals and one assist in six career games against Chicago.

The Blackhawks (1-1-0) will look to build off their first victory of the season, a 4-3 shootout win over Detroit in their home opener on Saturday. They can also open their home schedule with consecutive wins for the first time since 2002-03.

After missing the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, Chicago showed signs of renewed life Saturday thanks to 18-year-old rookie right wing Patrick Kane. The top overall pick in this year's NHL draft recorded his first career point when he assisted on Tuomo Ruutu's goal in the second period, then beat Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek for the only goal of the shootout.

"He's a special kid," Blackhawks coach Denis Savard said. "He's a kid who thrives under pressure and he wants to be the guy."

Offseason free-agent acquisition Robert Lang scored his first goal for Chicago with 3:40 left in the third to tie the game and set up overtime. Lang, though, has not been an offensive force in his career when facing San Jose, scoring only two goals in 28 contests.

Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin made 23 saves Saturday to record his first win of the season. Khabibulin is 15-8-1 with two ties and a 2.37 goals-against average in 27 games - 26 starts - against the Sharks.

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