Watch as the Blackhawks take on the San Jose Sharks tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 9 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.
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Five Things to Watch:
1. Jonathan Toews vs. Joe Thornton.
The two No. 19s always have pretty heated battles. In 2013, it intensified to a point where both players dropped the gloves. Thornton has had a quiet January, recording only six points in 13 games while Toews is heating up offensively with six points in his last three.
2. Gustav Forsling back with the Blackhawks.
Michal Rozsival was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury he suffered in practice that will sideline him for 2-3 weeks. To replace the 38-year-old defenseman, Forsling was recalled by the Blackhawks and is likely to draw into the lineup. He had one goal and three assists in 32 games with the team before getting sent down to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League, where he had six points in 11 games. Nick Schmaltz benefitted from a Rockford stint, and perhaps Forsling will prove that it did for him too.
3. The local kids.
The Sharks and Blackhawks have each beaten each another once this season in two games. In the latest contest on Dec. 18 at the United Center, Ryan Hartman and Vinnie Hinostroza each had a goal and an assist, leading the Blackhawks to a 4-1 win. With Chicago kicking off a six-game road trip, it will be key for the local kids to provide some scoring depth.
4. Brent Burns.
If the season ended today, Burns would be the Norris Trophy winner and would arguably be a Hart Trophy finalist. He leads all defensemen in goals with 21 and ranks fourth in the league with 51 points, averaging almost 25 minutes per game. He can take over a game on any given night, and is a huge threat on the power play.
5. A strong finish.
The Sharks have allowed 64 goals in the first two periods, which is among the fewest in the league. In the third, however, they've allowed 50, which is among the most in the league. The Blackhawks have scored their most goals in the third period with 48. The final 20 minutes is when Chicago plays its best, and will look to take advantage of a San Jose team that hasn't fared well during that period.
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