The San Jose Sharks seek their first seven game winning streak since 2012 tonight as they host the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. The surging Sharks return home to the SAP Center after the best road trip in franchise history, while Chicago plays in the fourth of their six game "Circus" road trip, having lost two of three games so far.
Despite an up-and-down season, Chicago still sits in a playoff spot. Plus, the defending champs still have plenty of offensive weapons, as they remain a top 10 team in score adjusted Corsi. The Sharks should have their hands full with Chicago, and must overcome their own difficulties at home. Despite coming off of an historic road trip, the Sharks have struggled at the SAP Center this season, winning just three of eight games on home ice.
Tale Of The Tape
|5th in Central||Rank||2nd in Pacific
Patrick Sharp scored his first goals in over a month, as the Blackhawks capitalized on the Sharks' poor third period en route to a 6-2 victory at the SAP Center, and dealt a severe blow to the Sharks' playoff chances.
- The Sharks have won six in a row thanks to strong goaltending and in spite of some mediocre possession numbers. Since November 13th, San Jose ranks 18th in score adjusted Corsi and fourth in PDO, according to war-on-ice. The Sharks will need to begin turning those numbers around tonight, with the Penguins, Ducks, and Lightning looming as opponents within the ten days.
- Dainius Zubrus is expected to make his teal debut tonight, wearing #9. While he's a far cry from when Ovechkin scored fifty with him centering a decade ago, the Sharks should be adding a solid depth piece. He's projected to play on a line with Chris Tierney, who was a baby when Zubrus made his NHL debut, who is set to remain in the lineup despite failing to play more than five minutes in each of the last two games.
- Despite decreases in their possession numbers, the biggest culprit for Chicago's regression likely lies in the crease. Their team save percentage down to .909 after boasting a .925 a season ago. Scott Darling has come back down to earth with still-solid .912, while Corey Crawford's save percentage sits at .910, which would stand as the second lowest mark of his career.