The Blackhawks are on a three-game home losing streak and have lost six of their last nine games. They enter Sunday with a 7-6-1 record. It’s their worst start to a season since they began the 2010-11 season with the same record.
The Sharks are coming off a 5-3 road win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night. Defenseman Brent Burns had two goals in the win and has six goals on the season. The Sharks are 8-5-2 on the year. Antti Niemi will likely start in net against the Blackhawks.
Corey Crawford will start in net for the Blackhawks. He allowed three goals in a 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday. It was just the second time this season he allowed more than two goals. He’s 4-3-1 with a 1.72 goals-against average and .930 save percentage this season.
The issue for the Blackhawks is still mostly scoring. They lead the league with 38.1 shots per game and are tied for 21st with 2.43 goals per game. They are second worst in the league with a 5.0 shooting percentage in 5-on-5 play.
The Blackhawks will be without forwards Patrick Sharp and Daniel Carcillo. Sharp is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a lower-body injury. Carcillo recently returned to skating after suffering a lower-body injury on Oct. 25.
The Blackhawks will not have a morning skate on Sunday. Their lines during practice on Saturday were Kris Versteeg – Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell – Andrew Shaw – Brandon Saad, Ben Smith – Marcus Kruger – Marian Hossa, Peter Regin – Brad Richards – Jeremy Morin. The defenseman pairings are expected to be Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya – Niklas Hjalmarsson, Trevor van Riemsdyk – David Rundblad.
The Sharks are fourth in the league with a 26.0 power-play percentage. The Blackhawks are first with a 92.9 penalty-kill percentage.