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San Jose Returns Home After Long Road Trip, Hosting Blackhawks

Returning home after a five game road trip in which the team went 3-2-0, the Sharks will host the Chicago Blackhawks for the second time this season. San Jose dropped a 6-3 decision to the Buffalo Sabres on the last game of their road trip after beating the Flyers in a shootout thriller. Logan Couture has been a bright spot for the Sharks, though, currently riding a five-game point streak with six goals and two assists during. He's currently leading all NHL rookies with 14 goals and 21 points. 

The Blackhawks are carrying some momentum, looking for their third straight win tonight against the Sharks. Winners in five of their last six, Chicago went 3-1-0 in their last four games, all at home. Troy Bouwer, Patrick Sharp and Jeremy Morin had goals for Chicago, who are presently without forwards Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane, in their last outing, a 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. They held on after the Stars attempted a rally, and that's something to seriously take into consideration, with the Sharks propensity for starting slow and finishing strong. 

In the first meeting this season, San Jose took a decisive 5-2 win at HP Pavilion in San Jose. Antti Niemi faced his team for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup with them last season and made 30 saves. The Sharks have been winners in 15 of their last 20 regular season meetings with the Blackhawks, but Chicago still has that four-game sweep in the Western Conference Finals last year to keep in mind.

It's unclear who will be in net for San Jose. Niemi has been up-and-down all season, at 5-7-1- with a 3.48 GAA and got the loss against the Sabres in his last outing. Antero Niittymaki is the "starter," in the eyes of many and has gone 9-3-3 with a 2.43 GAA.