Preview: Sharks at Blackhawks
The San Jose Sharks have matched the worst start in franchise history, losing their first four games for the first time since 1993-94. The Sharks, who advanced to the Western Conference finals last season, will attempt to break into the win column when they wrap up a three-game road trip with a visit to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
San Jose continued its woeful start with a 5-2 setback at Nashville on Tuesday night, marking its third loss by at least three goals. "This is a league where you have to combine work ethic with a smart game," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "We made a few glaring mistakes, and the ones we made they stuck in the back of the net." The Blackhawks are the only team that has yet to play their second game, having dropped a 4-3 decision to Philadelphia in their opener in the Czech Republic. "They're going to be a desperate team," coach Jeremy Colliton said of San Jose. "We need to be desperate, too. It's a chance to play our first home game and we want to get started on the right foot with our home schedule and establishing that it's a difficult place to play."
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN-Plus, NBCS California (San Jose), NBCS Chicago
ABOUT THE SHARKS (0-4-0): Outscored 17-5 during its dismal start, San Jose made an effort to jump-start the team by bringing back 40-year-old Patrick Marleau, who played 19 of his 21 seasons with the Sharks and was a former team captain. Marleau, who scored 16 goals and had 37 points with Toronto last season, practiced on the top line with captain Logan Couture and Timo Meier on Wednesday. "He still skates really well," DeBoer said. "He's a big man, he knows how to play. I have no doubt he can help us on the ice and off the ice. He's a class act."
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (0-1-0): Defensemen Connor Murphy and Calvin de Haan sat out the opener due to groin injuries, but Murphy skated alongside Slater Koekkoek at Wednesday's practice and expects to return to the lineup. Rookie Kirby Dach appears to be fully recovered from a concussion but Colliton said it's unlikely the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft plays in the opener of a seven-game homestand. "When you miss that much time, that sharpness that you need to succeed, we want to make sure he has it," Colliton said.
1. Sharks G Aaron Dell, who will start on Thursday, stopped all 16 shots in relief in his lone appearance versus Chicago.
2. Blackhawks F Patrick Kane had three points in the opener and had eight goals and 30 points in 39 games versus the Sharks.
3. San Jose is 1-for-17 on the power play.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 3, Sharks 2