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Sharks-Blackhawks Preview @NHLdotcom

The injury-plagued San Jose Sharks are hoping to see Rob Blake return, while the Chicago Blackhawks are happy to have one of their top scorers back in the lineup.

The Sharks will try to extend their winning streak at the United Center to seven games on Wednesday night when they meet Patrick Sharp and the Blackhawks for the final time in the regular season.

It's possible these teams could meet again in the second round of the playoffs, with San Jose currently battling Detroit for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and Chicago trying to hold off Vancouver for the fourth spot.

The Sharks (48-14-10), who are two points shy of matching their total of 108 from last season with 10 games to play, already have clinched a second consecutive Pacific Division title and are going after their first Presidents' Trophy.

That chase wasn't slowed by a lower-body injury to Blake, as San Jose overcame his absence to beat Colorado 3-1 on Sunday for its third win in a row and fifth in six games.

"Considering the bodies (out of the lineup) and the amount of hockey we've played, I was pleased," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "It's a good time for our organization when that many players come up and make an impact."

Though forwards Ryan Clowe, Mike Grier, Tomas Plihal, Jeremy Roenick and Claude Lemieux remain sidelined by injuries, it's possible Blake could be back Wednesday. The 39-year-old defenseman has 10 goals and 43 points, ranking second on the team among blueliners in both categories.

If the six-time All-Star is unable to play, San Jose could again turn to Alexei Semenov, who had two assists Sunday after being a healthy scratch in the previous two contests. The 6-foot-6 Russian has one goal and seven assists in 42 games.

"Sometimes when you don't play for two or three games, it's tough to give your best game, but the team needs me to step up while Blake is out," Semenov said.

San Jose dropped its last meeting with Chicago 4-2 at home on Jan. 31, snapping a 13-game winning streak in the series. That run includes six straight victories at the United Center, including a 6-5 win Nov. 16 in the Sharks' lone visit this season.

The Blackhawks (38-22-11), though, are hoping Sharp can build on a standout performance after he had two goals an and assist in Sunday's 4-1 win over Los Angeles to snap a five-game losing streak.

Sharp had missed the previous 16 games with a left knee injury, and Chicago went 6-7-3. The center, who has two goals in 14 games against San Jose, is second on the club with 25 goals.

"It was great to have him (Sharp) there," said Blackhawks right wing Martin Havlat, who had one of his two goals assisted by Sharp on Sunday. "You can see we create more offense with him in the lineup. We need him."

With 11 games to go, the Blackhawks know they can't afford another long losing streak if they want to gain home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

"I don't want to say a number, but I still think our motivation is to finish fourth in our conference," coach Joel Quenneville said.

Chicago may start Nikolai Khabibulin for a third straight game after he made 14 saves Sunday for his first win in four starts since a groin injury ruled him out of 14 contests. The goaltender made 32 saves to beat San Jose on Jan. 31.

Teammate Cristobal Huet is 0-3-1 with a tie and a 4.37 goals-against average in six game against the Sharks. He's also struggled of late, going 2-4-1 with a 3.50 GAA in his last eight games.

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