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Sharks head to Chicago

January 05, 2014 18:54:29 UK

The San Jose Sharks visit the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks at the United Center in Chicago on Sunday evening in a fascinating match-up.

San Jose was hammered 5-1 by the Blackhawks when the two sides met earlier in the season, and the Sharks are coming off a 4-3 defeat to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Saturday. Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture were all on target for the visitors, but only after the Avalanche had scored four unanswered in the first 26 minutes of play, including two from Nathan MacKinnon.

The Sharks remain in second place in the Pacific Division with the defeat and trail the Anaheim Ducks by seven points in the standings.

The Sharks are 2.55 to beat the Blackhawks, who are 1.57 to prevail.

Chicago, despite having the best record in the Western Conference, continues to hear footsteps behind them as the St. Louis Blues have closed to within three points of their rivals in the Central Division.

Saturday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, the Blues were far too strong for the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets as they eased to a 6-2 victory. Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu had given Columbus the early lead but from the midway point in the second period, it was all one-way traffic for the hosts as they scored six unanswered to win their fifth game in a row.

The Ducks also return to the ice with the visit of the Vancouver Canucks to the Honda Center in Southern California. Anaheim has won 12 of 13 games with only a setback in San Jose to blemish what has been the best record in the league since the start of December.

The Ducks are 1.57 to continue their run, with the Canucks 2.55 to stop them.

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