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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 22nd (All times Eastern)
San Jose Sharks (8-4-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (13-0-3), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville doesn't seem too excited about the possibility of his team setting an NHL record on Friday night against the visiting San Jose Sharks.
"It would be nice to win the next game," the bench boss said on Thursday.
Doing so would extend the Blackhawks season-opening point streak to 17 straight games, surpassing the record set by the 2006-07 Stanley Cup-winning Anaheim Ducks (12-0-4). Chicago improved to 13-0-3 with Tuesday's 4-3 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Marian Hossa scored twice in the victory, but suffered a head injury during the game and was not around for the closing moments of the third period, when Chicago allowed Vancouver to score twice in a 1:31 span, including the game- tying goal with 1:01 to go in regulation.
However, Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw -- who took Hossa's spot in the shootout -- scored and Ray Emery, who had 29 saves, stopped two of three skaters he faced in the breakaway session. That gave Chicago its third straight victory and seventh in eight games.
"It's a remarkable start," said Quenneville afterwards. "We're very happy and pleased. Guys should be proud of the achievement and where they're at, especially in a 48-game season. It's put us in a real good spot."
Not having Hossa would put Chicago in a tighter spot as he left early in the third frame after taking an elbow to the head in a collision with Vancouver's Jannik Hansen, who picked up a one-game ban for the hit. Hossa stayed down on the ice for a bit before leaving under his own power.
It was similar to last season's first-round playoff matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes, when Hossa took an illegal hit to the head from Raffi Torres and had to leave the ice on a stretcher in Game 3. Chicago was eliminated in six games.
Hossa, though, was able to practice on Thursday and has not been ruled out for this game.
"The good thing is I felt pretty good this morning," Hossa said on Thursday. "I followed the protocol with the team, I did the practice and I felt pretty good.
"(Hansen) surprised me with a hit from behind. He hit me pretty hard in the back of the head and right after I was shaky. That's why I didn't return, because I was shaky. We had the day off (Wednesday) and it's kind of settled down."
Hossa, who is second on the club with eight goals and tied for third with 14 points, added he doesn't believe he suffered any type of concussion and did not have blurred vision or any type of headache.
While Hossa's status is up in the air, defenseman Brent Seabrook should return following a one-game absence caused by a lower body injury, while goaltender Corey Crawford is nearing a return from an upper body issue that has forced him to miss the past three games.
Emery has won all three of those outings and is a perfect 6-0-0 with a 2.27 goals against average and .925 save percentage in six starts this season. He'll get the call again on Friday as the Blackhawks play the fifth of a seven-game homestand.
This residency already includes a 4-1 win over the Sharks last Friday, 10 days after Chicago picked up a two-goal win in San Jose.
The Blackhawks have won four of their past five versus the Sharks and four straight at home in this series.
San Jose would love to be the first team to hand Chicago a regulation loss as it looks to put a recent seven-game losing streak behind it. The Sharks followed up a franchise-best 7-0 start with an 0-4-3 skid, its longest since an 0-7-3 drought from Nov. 5-30, 2005, before finally finding the win column on Tuesday in St. Louis.
Tim Kennedy had the game-winning goal in the third period against the Blues as the Sharks won for the first time since Jan. 31.
"They're a big, strong team over there and to get two points in this building is huge," said Kennedy, who has scored twice in three games this season. "You know we have to do a lot of traveling in a short span here and anytime you can get a win on the road it's big."
San Jose won for the first time on a six-game road trip, one that ends in Dallas on Saturday.
Joe Thornton also scored and Antti Niemi came up with 25 saves for the Sharks.
02/22 10:56:01 ET