San Jose hosts Chicago at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports to continue its five-game homestand after a convincing win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday. Chicago looks perfectly fine in a few categories (power play percentage, save percentage, 5v5 corsi-for percentage) and not so great in others (fenwick, shots-for percentage, expected goals).
That’s a convoluted way of saying Chicago isn’t the sure-thing-powerhouse the team has been in recent years but the Blackhawks are no slouch, either. Corey Crawford has put up god-like numbers this season and while that probably (note: probably) won’t last, it’s certainly helping Chicago bank valuable points in the competitive Central Division.
I’m not sure this matters, but expect Chicago to enter SAP Center a little pissed off, too. Edmonton just put a good licking on the Blackhawks on Monday to the tune of a 5-0 victory and you can bet Chicago will be motivated to put that in the rear view mirror.
San Jose soundly beat New Jersey on Monday but enter tonight’s game with more questions than answers. Melker Karlsson might play, while Daniel O’Regan was sent back to the Barracuda after one game with the Sharks. He could still be recalled before gametime.
Pete DeBoer scratched Kevin Labanc on Monday and I expect to see him back in the lineup tonight, but that’s not sure thing either. If he does return to the lineup he will probably skate on the third line. The top six looked great against New Jersey so DeBoer is unlikely to tweak it.
The bottom six? That’s another story. The Mikkel Boedker - Chris Tierney - Matt Nieto experiment was not exactly a roaring success and the fourth line of Micheal Haley - O’Regan - Tommy Wingels was not good at all. If Karlsson returns he’ll likely play on the third line with TIerney and Boedker, which moves Labanc to the fourth line with Wingels and Nieto.
There’s always the possibility DeBoer puts his lines in a blender again at today’s morning skate, of course. Marcus White will be there, so make sure you give him a follow on Twitter so you can keep up with all the happenings.