NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, November 26th
(All times eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (10-4-5) at San Jose Sharks (17-3-1), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - San Jose goaltender Evgeni Nabokov will return from his
seven-game layoff, as the Sharks try to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks for the
13th straight time in a battle between the clubs tonight at HP Pavilion.
Nabokov has been sidelined since he suffered a lower-body injury while making
the final save in a shootout win over St. Louis on November 6. He actually
returned to practice last week, but with three days off following a test
against Washington on Saturday, head coach Todd McLellan rested his netminder
The Sharks were being careful with their franchise netminder, as the 33-year-
old Nabokov played in 77 games last season. He is 10-2-0 with a 2.71 goals
against average in 12 starts this year and 12-4-0 with two ties and a 2.07 GAA
in 19 matchups with the Blackhawks.
San Jose, which leads the NHL with 35 points this year, had no need to rush
Nabokov back. Brian Boucher started all seven games Nabokov missed and went
5-1-1 in that span. He is second in the NHL with a 1.88 GAA and made 19 saves
in a 7-2 rout of the Capitals on Saturday.
Ryane Clowe scored twice, while Patrick Marleau, Devin Setoguchi, Joe Thornton
and Marc-Edouard Vlasic each had a goal and an assist for San Jose, which
moved to 11-0-1 at home this season and has beaten Washington 11 straight
Setoguchi (5 goals, 5 assists), Thornton (3g, 6a) and Marleau (3g, 5a) all ran
their respective point streaks to five games in the win.
Rob Blake posted four assists in the win and fellow blueliner Dan Boyle had
three helpers. Boyle is second in the league among defenseman in scoring with
18 points (6g, 12a), while Blake is third with 17 points (2g, 15a).
San Jose hasn't lost against the Blackhawks since October 7, 2005. Its 12
straight wins over them includes a 6-5 victory in Chicago two Sundays ago.
Additionally, the Hawks haven't won in San Jose since March 17, 2003, losing
seven straight there after a tie on October 23, 2003.
Chicago, though, does have some momentum heading into this game. The
Blackhawks have won the first three games of their current six-game road trip,
their second-longest swing of the season.
They began the trek with wins in Phoenix and Dallas before notching an
overtime victory over Toronto on Saturday. Chicago is outscoring its opponents
14-9 so far on the trip and has won seven of its last 10 overall.
Dave Bolland netted the game-winner 49 seconds into overtime to lift the
Blackhawks to a 5-4 victory. Ben Eager forced the extra time thanks to a goal
with 7:33 left in the third frame, Patrick Sharp scored twice to give him a
team-high 12 goals and Patrick Kane added his 11th tally of the season.
Duncan Keith and Brian Campbell notched two helpers each in helping improve
Chicago's road record this year to 4-3-1. Nikolai Khabibulin made 34 saves.
11/26 11:13:13 ET