The Chicago Blackhawks have had an up-and-down season to begin the campaign, but they’re hoping that their Sunday win over the Anaheim Ducks will finally give them some momentum as they wrap up a four-game road trip on Tuesday night.
The Blackhawks, who are 4-6-3 on the young season, lost the first two games of that trip, but have collected three points in their last two contests as they fell in overtime to the Kings and beat the Ducks in overtime over the weekend.
Now, they will head into San Jose for a rematch with the Sharks, who beat the Blackhawks 5-4 earlier this season at the United Center.
San Jose has been struggling badly on home ice as of late, losing their last three games at the SAP Center. They haven’t fared well against the Western Conference as a whole either, going 2-6-0 in conference games this season.
The Sharks have one of the worst offenses in the NHL, scoring 2.4 goals per game this season, and their 3.73 goals against average is the fourth-worst in the league.
To top all of that off, the Sharks are the most penalized team in the NHL, racking up 197 penalty minutes so far this season in 15 games.
Despite all of that work in short-handed situations, the Sharks shockingly have the best penalty killing unit in the NHL, killing off 89.7 percent of the power plays they face.
For the Blackhawks, special teams will be an area of increased focus, as the team collected a pair of power play goals in their win over the Ducks. Adding Adam Boqvist to the mix as a point man on the power play has been an effective strategy for Chicago, and Kirby Dach has been strong in front of the net as the Blackhawks seek to get their footing after a rough start to the season on special teams.
The Blackhawks have also improved on the penalty kill in recent games, killing off 15 of the last 16 power plays they have faced after giving up a pair of power play tallies to the Carolina Hurricanes in late October.
Credit for those improvements goes to forwards like Brandon Saad and Ryan Carpenter, who have implemented a more aggressive style to their games in short-handed situations. The duo will look to continue that progression against a Sharks squad scoring at a 22 percent clip on power plays, good for 12th in the NHL.
Puck drop between the Blackhawks and Sharks is set for 9:30 p.m.