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Sharks hit road with three-game win streak to face Blackhawks

Sports Xchange
16 Dec 2018, 12:45 GMT+10

CHICAGO -- The San Jose Sharks have discovered a winning formula when it comes to playing at home this season.

On the road? Not so much.

So when the Sharks carry a three-game winning streak into Sunday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center, they will attempt to keep rolling while also finding a way to find success on the road.

The Sharks are 6-8-3 away from home as opposed to the 11-3-2 mark they have compiled at their home rink. But coming off a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday, San Jose will make the trek east, hoping to reverse a trend that has bitten the Sharks whenever they have traveled away from the West Coast.

"I don't know why, but it does feel like we've been out a lot and we've done a lot of traveling," San Jose coach Pete DeBoer said Thursday, according to The Athletic. "It is nice to be at home and I think our home record has been excellent. We've done a good job at home. So I think we've got a chance between here and Christmas to hopefully put some wins in the bank and that's the goal."

San Jose will play four of its next six games at home with the exception being Sunday's game in Chicago and a Tuesday road test against Minnesota. In the Sharks' latest victory, they limited the Stars to 22 shots on goal and Timo Meier contributed two goals for the second straight game as San Jose extended its winning streak.

Meier has discovered the scoring touch of late and has five goals in the Sharks' past four games after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

Now, Meier and his teammates will attempt to keep their hot streak going and will be looking for their sixth win in their past seven games.

"You can see the confidence. Confidence is just oozing out of him," San Jose center Joe Thornton said of Meier, according to NHL.com. "(He's) playing great hockey right now."

Chicago, meanwhile, has dropped nine of its past 10 games. After snapping an eight-game losing streak on Wednesday with a victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Blackhawks dropped a 4-3 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

Erik Gustafsson forced overtime when he scored with eight seconds remaining in regulation, which gave Chicago hope for its second straight win. But the Blackhawks allowed a goal just 50 seconds into overtime to drop them back into the losing column.

Now, they'll have to bounce back against the surging Sharks.

"I think we played well for a lot of the game," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton told reporters after the loss in which captain Jonathan Toews scored twice. "We still had those moments where we lost our edge and they're a really good team. They make you pay.

"It doesn't take much of an opening for some of their players to break through and that's kind of what happened. Credit to our guys, they played to the end and we found a way to get a point. Could have been two, and that's frustrating."

The Blackhawks continue to struggle with falling behind early, which they have done in 12 of their past 13 games. Despite repeatedly stumbling out of the gate, though, Toews -- who has three points in two straight games -- sees improvement.

"Our confidence is getting better," Toews said. "I think we're playing better and we're getting our confidence back. So we've got to start demanding more out of ourselves."

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