In game two of six at home, the Sharks (34-21-9, 2nd Pacific) host the Chicago Blackhawks (27-28-8, 7th Central) tonight at 7:00. That's right, 7:00, not 7:30, so hurry home! The Hawks have enjoyed a minor resurgence lately, earning six points in their last five games (that's good for them this year) after one lonely point in the previous eight. Still, they're last in the Central and sit 12 points back of the Anaheim Ducks for the second wild card spot in the West, so their season is winding down.
The Sharks' addition of former Sabre Evander Kane at the deadline means there are two of them in this contest, including the Blackhawks' scoring leader Patrick. Just don't cheer for the red one and you should be fine.
Kane looked right at home in San Jose's 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, recording two assists in 16:34 on ice. Joe Pavelski tied a career high with four points, and Timo Meier scored a goal on one of his nine (!) shots. Most noteworthy to me was Kane's ability to play San Jose's system. He cycled naturally with the Sharks, communicated well with his line mates and, on his first assist, pretty clearly shot right for Pavelski's stick blade. That kind of immediate impact can go a long way down the stretch in locking down a playoff spot still in contention.
The Sharks are ten points behind the Vegas Golden Knights and two ahead of the Los Angeles Kings which, weirdly enough, is more cushion than they've had for some time. While San Jose's defense has fallen from the lofty heights upon which they perched at the beginning of the year, goaltender Martin Jones has kept them in the race. Jones has allowed two or fewer goals in ten of his last twelve starts, and has a 6-4-2 record with a 1.98 goals against average and a .938 save percentage since 31 January.
Let's hope the Sharks can outscore Chicago's Matthew Highmore, who's skating in his NHL debut so he's guaranteed one or two. If Jones and the Sharks can shut it down after that, they should be able to lock up two more points tonight and gain some distance.
Let's go Sharks!
Evander Kane - Joe Pavelski -- Joonas Donskoi
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Kevin Labanc
Marcus Sorensen -- Barclay Goodrow -- Melker Karlsson
Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Tim Heed, Paul Martin, Jannik Hansen
Injured: Joe Thornton (knee), Joel Ward (shoulder), Eric Fehr (lower body)
Head coach Pete Deboer says Fehr's injury is minor. Ward is skating, but is still some distance from game ready. Marcus Sorensen draws into the lineup in Fehr's absence, because Jannik Hansen broke a mirror four years ago or something.
Brandon Saad -- Jonathan Toews -- Vinnie Hinostroza
Tomas Jurco -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat -- Nick Schmaltz -- Matthew Highmore
Patrick Sharp -- David Kampf -- Anthony Duclair
Duncan Keith -- Jordan Oesterle
Connor Murphy -- Brent Seabrook
Erik Gustafsson -- Carl Dahlstrom
Injured: Corey Crawford (upper body), Jan Rutta (lower body)
Rutta did not skate this morning after scoring in the Hawks' 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, not a great sign.
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, WGN
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App