NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, February 10th
(All times Eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (29-18-7) at San Jose Sharks (29-16-6), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The free-falling Chicago Blackhawks will try to end their
longest losing streak in over four years when they continue a lengthy road
trip with tonight's battle against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion.
The Blackhawks are 0-5-1 over their last six games, marking the club's longest
skid since an 0-6-2 stretch from Dec. 30-Jan. 11 during the 2007-08 season.
The last four losses (0-3-1) have come at the start of a nine-game swing.
The recent swoon has dropped the 2010 Stanley Cup champions into the sixth
seed in the Western Conference, where it's three points ahead of Los Angeles
and four points behind Nashville. Chicago is now also fourth in the Central
Division and nine points behind Detroit for first place.
The Blackhawks have allowed a total of 16 goals over their last three losses
and are coming off Tuesday's 5-2 setback in Colorado. The score was tied at
2-2 heading into the third period, but Gabriel Landeskog put the Avalanche up
for good with his tally just 38 seconds into the final stanza.
The Blackhawks received goals from Brent Seabrook and Patrick Kane, while Ray
Emery was tagged for four goals on 28 shots.
"Every mistake we make is being capitalized on," said Chicago defenseman
Duncan Keith. "We have to get in a better position to turn things around.
Everything we seem to do seems to be harder. We have to start outworking the
Chicago is just 10-12-3 as the road club this year and has lost eight straight
(0-6-2) away from the Windy City. Joel Quenneville's team hasn't posted a
road victory since Dec. 14 in Minnesota.
Blackhawks defenseman Steve Montador suffered an upper-body injury in
Tuesday's loss and was forced to leave the game in the second period. He is
questionable for tonight.
Although they're not as cold as the Blackhawks, the Sharks haven't exactly
been playing their best hockey of late either. San Jose has surrendered nine
goals in losing its last two games and is 3-4-1 over its last eight trips to
the ice. Despite the inconsistent play, the Sharks are still leading the
Pacific Division with 64 points, two more than Los Angeles.
After losing last Saturday in Phoenix by a 5-3 score, the Sharks returned home
and dropped Wednesday's close regulation decision against Calgary. Olli
Jokinen capped his hat trick for the Flames with the game-winner just 3:25
into the third period, lifting Calgary to a 4-3 victory. Flames goaltender
Miikka Kiprusoff also stopped 34 shots to register the 300th win of his
Joe Pavelski, Michal Handzus and Logan Couture all scored for the Sharks,
while Antti Niemi made 32 saves in the loss.
"It's a missed opportunity," Thornton said. "We'd like to say we played good
at times, it just wasn't a full 60 [minutes]."
Tonight's game represents San Jose's final home test before embarking on a
season-long nine-game road trip. The Sharks are 17-9-2 as the host this year
compared to a 12-7-4 mark on the road. After tonight. San Jose's next home
game isn't until Feb. 28 against Philadelphia.
This evening's tilt marks the fourth and final scheduled meeting between the
Blackhawks and Sharks this year. San Jose posted a 1-0 home win on Nov. 23
before Chicago posted two straight wins over the Sharks in the Windy City. The
Blackhawks have taken three of four overall in this series, but San Jose has
won the last three encounters at the Shark Tank.
02/10 10:46:06 ET