SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Chicago Blackhawks seven-game road trip continues Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks. The Blackhawks will try to build off their 5-2 win over Vancouver on Wednesday night that snapped a four-game losing streak.
After two days off, the Blackhawks hope to have a fresh attitude and fresh legs to attack a wounded Sharks team.
San Jose has lost three straight and scored just one goal during the losing streak.
“They are a dangerous team coming off of two tough (road) losses,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “They have a lot of weapons on their team and they like to attack and have a good power play. We need to be ready to start and make sure our minds are in the right place knowing that the most important part of this game is going to be the first ten minutes.”
Captain Jonathan Toews also expects a fired up Sharks team tonight.
“They are always dangerous, especially at home,” said Toews. “So we will be ready for them to come out hard in the first period like they always do."
Handzus returns: Michal Handzus will make his return to San Jose for the first time since being traded from the Sharks to Chicago last year for a fourth-round draft choice.
Handzus has been around enough teams in the NHL that he can’t get the revenge factor going against every former team.
“Maybe there is a little bit extra because I played here last year. I have been in the league so long you just prepare for the game in a normal way but obviously you want to play well.”
Handzus has four goals and seven assists this year for Chicago.
Hossa sits out practice: Forward Marian Hossa was absent from the morning skate. Quenneville confirmed that Hossa will be in the lineup for the Blackhawks Saturday night. Hossa also missed a practice for a maintenance day Jan. 16.
Hossa has scored eight goals in his last 10 games.
Bryan Bickell took his spot on the top line during practice.
Bickell a scratch? Bickell’s struggles may result in another lineup scratch Saturday night. He was one of the last players on the ice during practice and he was on the top line for Hossa, who is expected to play.
“It is not easy for a guy like that,” Toews says of Bickell. “We are always trying to remind him of what he is capable of doing as a player. Sometimes it is easy for a player to forget and it can snowball in the wrong direction. I think every person on this team has a role to play and if someone is playing well, they will get more responsibility and for someone not so much, you know how it works. For Bicks, it is slowly trying to rebuild that confidence. His teammates are supporting him.”
100 for Bollig: Brandon Bollig is expected to play his 100th NHL game Saturday night. That is quite the accomplishment for the undrafted winger.
“Give him some credit,” Quenneville said. “I think he has really progressed in his game. I think the one element that got him in the league is toughness and now I think he has added other elements to make him a more complete player. That line for us over the last 10 games has been the most consistent game in and game out at doing the right things.”
Bollig has six goals and six assists.