Few teams have gotten past the San Jose Sharks this season. It's been more than three years since the Chicago Blackhawks have done it.
The league-leading Sharks look to continue their impressive start Sunday night and beat the Blackhawks for the 12th consecutive time.
San Jose (14-3-1) bounced back from its first consecutive losses of the season and improved its NHL-best record Thursday with a 6-1 home rout of Calgary. Joe Pavelski
and Milan Michalek each scored twice for the Sharks, who held a 46-24 advantage in shots on goal.
"We're trying to win (simply) to win, whether the score's 4-1 or 1-1 going into the third," Pavelski said. "We want to get that fifth one and that sixth one and that seventh one."
San Jose scored a season-high four power-play goals in nine opportunities versus the Flames, improving to 7-for-21 with the man advantage in its last three games.
Wins have been virtually automatic for the Sharks against Chicago (7-3-5) in recent years. Since losing 6-3 at the United Center on Oct. 7, 2005, San Jose has won 11 straight in the series - outscoring the Blackhawks 38-19 in that span - with five of those victories coming on the road.
Center Patrick Marleau
has five goals and six assists in those 11 victories. He has 13 goals and 16 assists in 40 career games versus the Blackhawks.
Chicago has yet to lose in regulation at home this season, but fell to 2-0-2 on its five-game homestand after a 4-3 overtime loss to St. Louis on Friday night. Dave Bolland scored two goals and assisted on another for the Blackhawks, but his hooking penalty in overtime allowed the Blues' Andy McDonald to score the game-winner on the power play.
"We've got to let this one really sink in and get ticked off about it," captain Jonathan Toews told the Blackhawks' official Web site. "We have to come back and do better on Sunday."
After this contest, Chicago embarks on a six-game road trip, which will last the rest of November while the circus takes over the United Center. The trip includes a visit to San Jose on Nov. 26.
The Sharks will likely start Brian Boucher, who played 15 games for Chicago in 2006-07, in net for the injured Evgeni Nabokov (leg). Boucher is 4-2-0 with two ties and a 1.84 goals-against average in eight career games against the Blackhawks.
Nikolai Khabibulin has started the last two games for Chicago, meaning offseason acquisition Cristobal Huet may be between the pipes for this matchup. Huet has won three of his last four starts overall, but is 0-2-0 with a tie and a 3.65 GAA in four career games versus the Sharks.