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Spoiler alert: Blackhawks host Sharks
CHICAGO -- The San Jose Sharks will try to avoid two losses in as many nights when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night at the United Center.
San Jose (33-20-8) is coming off a 7-1 loss on the road against the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. Despite the setback, the Sharks remain in second place in the Western Conference's Pacific Division behind the Vegas Golden Knights.
Chicago (26-27-8) is searching for its second win in a row after outlasting the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout Wednesday night. The Blackhawks have not won back-to-back games since January.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told his players to embrace the spoiler role, even if it is unfamiliar to them after so many years of success. Chicago has not missed the playoffs since the 2007-08 season, winning three Stanley Cup titles since.
"I don't know if I've ever been in this role," Quenneville said to the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's nothing to get excited about, but I still think as a staff and as a team, let's play the right way, and have fun playing competitive hockey. Be successful and enjoy it."
While goaltender Corey Crawford remains sidelined because of an undisclosed upper-body injury, Quenneville plans to give one start apiece to goaltenders Anton Forsberg and Jean-Francois Berube during back-to-back games Friday against San Jose and Saturday against Columbus. However, Quenneville has not said which goaltender will draw the first assignment.
Forsberg, 25, is 7-12-3 with a 2.90 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He never has faced the Sharks.
Berube, 26, is 0-0-0 with a 2.73 GAA and .857 save percentage in one appearance this season. He also has not faced San Jose in his career, which included two seasons with the New York Islanders before he signed with Chicago during the offseason.
The Sharks likely will counter with veteran goaltender Martin Jones one night after teammate Aaron Dell allowed seven goals on 46 shots against Nashville. Jones, 28, is 19-15-5 with a 2.53 GAA and .916 save percentage in 41 games this season. In seven career contests against Chicago, he is 3-3-1 with a 2.00 GAA and a .931 save percentage.
Sharks center Eric Fehr is expected to play in his second game since the team acquired him from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL draft. The 32-year-old did not record a point in 12:03 of ice time on Thursday.
"I was hoping to get another opportunity," Fehr told the San Jose Mercury News after the trade. "I would love to make a deep playoff run -- that's why I play hockey. I want to win the Stanley Cup. This team is loaded up and ready to go, so this is a really exciting time for me."
Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov has two goals in his last three games. Teammate Vinnie Hinostroza has four assists in his last four contests, and defenseman Erik Gustafsson has a pair of assists in his last three games.
Updated February 22, 2018