The Blackhawks will be shooting for another win after taking seven of their last 11 games and getting the two points. Chicago is currently averaging 2.7 goals per game and are scoring on 17.6 percent of their power play opportunities so that has brought them their recent success. Artem Anisimov is leading his team with 18 goals, and team mate Marian Hossa has 12 assists, right behind him. Chicago’s young star, Artemi Panarin has 125 shots on goal and is dangerous around the net.
Chcago’s defensive is holding strong, they are only allowing 2.6 goals per game and are killing 75.9 percent of their opponents’ power plays, and then add another layer of protection if goalie Corey Crawford. He’s given up only 81 goals on 985 shots faced. Back up Scott Darling is also performing well, allowing 45 goals on 600 shots. The Blackhawks don’t do well when they give up more than three or more goals, and because of that they have lost eight of their last 11 games when it happens.
The San Jose Sharks on the other hand pretty hot and will probably remain hot after winning six of their last seven games. They’re averaging 2.7 goals per game and are scoring on 16.6 percent of their power play chances. D-man Brent Burns is leading his team with 21 goals, and team mate Logan Couture has 16 assists. With veteran Patrick Marleau netting 121 shots on goal. On the defense, the Sharks are letting in 2.3 goals per game and are killing 82.2 percent of their opponents’ power plays. Their goalie Martin Jones has only given up 93 goals on 1,105 shots that he faced, and back up Aaron Dell has given up 17 goals on 243 shots. The Sharks when they allow less than three goals a game, they’ve won 12 of their last 15 games.
Statistically, the Blackhawks are 2-5 in their last 7 games when they played with 3 or more days rest, and 0-4 in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning record. So, time off does bode well for the Hawks. The Sharks are 25-11 in their last 36 home games, and 9-4 in their last 13 going against a team who has a winning record. Chicago is 3-7 in the last 10 match ups when visiting San Jose, overall the home team is 18-6 in the last 24 meetings so the Sharks so have the edge.
The home team has the upper hand and it’s hard to bet against the San Jose Sharks when you look at the confidence they are playing with. So, with 14 games on the card coming back after the break, this game is one of the better games ones to bet on since we like the Sharks on their home ice.
San Jose right now is at the top of the Pacific division going into the All-Star break. And surprisingly enough they got those points without their star Tomas Hertl, their 21-goal scorer from last season that, and young dynamic player of 23, who is able to flip the advantage to his side of the ice.
Hertl’s will be back tomorrow night and that should incite the team to victory who are already thriving. The Sharks needs a push though while they head into the home stretch. Him being back in the lineup will give them a lot more depth on the offensive side, and means they’ll get more secondary scoring.
Usually, San Jose is full of offensive power, but so far they are 17th in the NHL with 2.66 goals per game. That’s OK, but it’s not the 2.89 which ranked 4th in the league, which they had last season. They have always had a team that was built around putting the puck in the back of the net, so that’s another reason why Hertl’s return will be good for the Sharks score sheet.
Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith did enjoy the break after taking two losses before the All Star weekend. In both of those games they gave up third-period leads.
“They were tough losses, obviously not the way we want to play in the third period,” Keith said. “Time away is a good thing physically and more than anything mentally to kind of clear the mind and regroup and get ready for the next 30 or so games.”
“Obviously we want to play better late in games, especially when we have the lead,” said captain Jonathan Toews to media today. “Regardless of how we’re playing going into the break it’s always a nice weekend for the majority of our team to relax and get ready for this road trip.”
We think going to San Jose will not be easiest way to kick off a road trip, so expect a tough and high scoring game while both teams get back in the flow of things.