Blackhawks-Sharks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 05, 2013
The Chicago Blackhawks are the final team remaining without a regulation defeat and a wild sequence allowed them to escape that fate in their last game. Road meetings with the San Jose Sharks, however, haven't ended favorably in three years. After narrowly avoiding their first regulation loss, the Blackhawks look to snap a four-game road skid to the Sharks on Tuesday night. Chicago (7-0-2) seemed headed for its first regulation loss Saturday when Ray Emery allowed a goal with 35 seconds to play. However, Marian Hossa tied it with 2.3 seconds left and Patrick Kane scored the only shootout goal in a 3-2 win at Calgary. The Blackhawks needed a career-high 45 saves from Emery, getting outshot 47-19. "That was criminal," coach Joel Quenneville said. "They've got to call the cops after that performance. (Emery) stole two points. He was spectacular. "I've never ever been outplayed, outchanced like that in my life. That was a special performance and it continued on in the shootout." Chicago is 1-0-2 on this season-high six-game road trip with both defeats coming in the shootout with Corey Crawford in net. Despite Emery's heroics against the Flames, it's likely Crawford will get the nod this time. He's 5-0-2 with a 1.66 goals-against average this season, but he's lost all three starts (0-2-1) at San Jose behind a 2.64 GAA. Crawford stopped 22 of 27 shots in the most recent meeting there on Feb. 10, a 5-3 loss that was Chicago's fourth straight in San Jose since a 4-3 overtime victory Jan. 28, 2010. The Blackhawks won both games there as part of a sweep of the Sharks (7-1-1) in the 2010 Western Conference finals en route to their most recent Stanley Cup. Kane leads Chicago with nine assists and 13 points, recording at least one in eight of nine games. He has two goals and two assists on this trip. But Kane has no points in his last three games at San Jose while captain Jonathan Toews' scoreless streak there is up to four. Center Dave Bolland may be back in the lineup after missing one game with a leg injury sustained in Friday's 2-1 shootout loss at Vancouver. "When you do feel a lot of pain anywhere you always have that thing in the back of your head that it could be broken," Bolland told the team's official website. "And with a 48-game year, it really cuts your season down if something serious does happen. I'm just glad nothing was broken or was serious." The Sharks will try to rebound from their first regulation loss of the season after they gave up two third-period goals in a 2-1 defeat at Anaheim on Monday. San Jose went scoreless on six power-play chances in the loss and is 1 for 18 over the past four games. "I thought that let us down," coach Todd McLellan told the NHL's official website. "That was, and has been, and will be, a huge part of our team." The same can be said for Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, who haven't managed a point in three games after getting 14 each over the first six. Marleau has two points - both assists - in his last seven meetings with Chicago, while Thornton has three in the past four home matchups. Antti Niemi will likely be back in net after he was rested Monday. He's 6-0-1 with a 1.80 GAA this season, and has a 1.48 GAA while winning all four home meetings with the Blackhawks - the team he helped to the 2010 Stanley Cup.
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