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Wednesday, March 25th (All times eastern)

San Jose Sharks (48-14-10) at Chicago Blackhawks (38-22-11), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Patrick Sharp's return to the lineup was enough to help the Blackhawks halt their longest losing streak of the season last time out. His next goal is to help his team hold onto home-ice advantage in the postseason.

Sharp and Chicago aim for back-to-back wins for the first time since the beginning of the month in tonight's test versus the San Jose Sharks at the United Center.

The Blackhawks' recent five-game slide allowed Vancouver to close the gap between the fourth and fifth-seeded teams in the Western Conference. Chicago was able to right the ship on Sunday versus Los Angeles, helped by two goals and an assist out of the returning Sharp.

Sharp had missed 16 games due to a lower-body injury suffered on February 14 versus Dallas. He was leading the team with 23 goals prior to his injury and is now second on the club behind Jonathan Toews and his 29 tallies.

Sharp, though, has just two goals and four points in 14 career games versus the Sharks.

Martin Havlat pumped in two goals versus the Kings and Duncan Keith collected three assists for the Blackhawks, who haven't won two straight since March 1-3. Nikolai Khabibulin had to make just 14 saves to notch his 18th win of the season.

The win gave the Blackhawks 87 points on the season, however, a victory by Vancouver on Tuesday night allowed the Canucks to move back into a tie with Chicago for the fourth seed in the West. The 'Hawks have played one fewer game.

Chicago is now 1-0-1 on a five-game homestand that concludes with a visit from Vancouver. The 'Hawks are 19-8-7 as the host this season.

San Jose enters this test riding a three-game winning streak, and Sunday's 3-1 win over Colorado allowed the Sharks to leap past Detroit in the standings for the best record in both the West and NHL with 106 points. Detroit reclaimed the top spot with a win yesterday, but the Sharks have two games in hand.

Milan Michalek pumped in the game-winner late in the second period versus the Avalanche, his third game in a row with a goal. He is tied with Ryane Clowe for fourth on the team with 22 tallies.

Jamie McGinn added a power-play goal for the Pacific Division-champion Sharks, who are 18-11-6 on the road. Alexei Semenov and Marc-Edouard Vlasic each had two assists, while Evgeni Nabokov earned his 37th win of the season with a 31-save performance.

Rob Blake, though, suffered a lower-body injury in the win and is day-to-day.

The Sharks had a 13-game series winning streak versus the Blackhawks end with a 4-2 home loss on January 31. San Jose has still won six straight in the Windy City, though.

Nabokov is 13-5-0 with two ties and a 2.16 goals against average in his career versus Chicago.

03/25 10:48:04 ET


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