NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 1st (All times Eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (33-10-13) at San Jose Sharks (34-15-6), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Sharks will try to put an end to their current scoring slump on Saturday night as they open up a four-game homestand versus the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Sharks have been held to just one goal over their last 110 shots, losing three in a row to fall 11 points behind the first-place Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division.
San Jose had gone 160 minutes and 36 seconds without a goal before Eriah Hayes netted the first of his career 36 seconds into the third period of Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames. Alex Stalock allowed three goals on 29 shots.
Hayes, in his 13th NHL game, had two of San Jose's 28 shots on net one night after the club fired 59 shots on net in a 3-0 loss to Edmonton, a game that saw the Oilers' Ben Scrivens set an NHL record for most saves in a regular- season shutout.
San Jose's current slide began with a 1-0 setback to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.
"It's a big concern of ours right now," admitted Sharks coach Todd McLellan, who said he thinks teams are playing them with a lot of confidence and not a lot to lose.
"Obviously with injuries, and every team goes through them, we need some others to pick up the slack and we've got to find that. Hayes getting his first tonight is a nice reward for him and a good thing for our team but he didn't have much support around him."
The Blackhawks far exceeded the Sharks' recent scoring pace in one period on Wednesday, scoring four times in the second period for a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Chicago trailed by two goals before Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad all scored in the middle frame. Saad added an empty-net tally and Corey Crawford posted 28 saves as the Blackhawks snapped an 0-2-2 winless drought.
"We're never out of the game," said Crawford, who made 10 saves in the third period. "We always have confidence in our guys to score goals."
The win finally gave Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville the 693rd of his career, moving him into sole possession of third place on the league's all- time list.
Chicago is two points ahead of the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division and bested the Canucks two nights after falling in overtime versus Calgary to begin a seven-game road trip.
The Blackhawks won't play as the hosting club again until March 1 when they battle the Pittsburgh Penguins outdoors at Soldier Field. That will mark Chicago's second game after the Olympic break and it doesn't play again at the United Center until three days after its "Stadium Series" appearance.
The 'Hawks had won four straight over the Sharks before a 3-2 shootout loss at home on Jan. 5.
Also, Chicago snapped a four-game slide in San Jose with a victory in its last trip to the city on Feb. 5 of last year.
02/01 11:27:27 ET