Patrick Sharp is scoring with relative ease, and that could secure him a trip to Sochi.
Chicago (29-7-8) owns the most points in the NHL, and Sharp continues to play a major role. He's totaled 14 goals and seven assists in his last 13 games, and his 25 scores on the season lead the team.
The left wing had six goals and 14 assists in 28 games last season, but turned it up during Chicago's run to the Stanley Cup with 10 and six in the playoffs.
Sharp's run could go a long way in cementing his spot on Canada's Olympic roster, scheduled to be announced Tuesday.
"My priority right now is the Hawks, and that's the way it's been all season," Sharp said. "You hear stuff about yourself as a player, that kind of motivates you, so there's a little extra incentive to play well.
"But I'm getting a bigger opportunity from (coach Joel Quenneville) and the coaching staff this year and I want to make sure that I show them that I'm worth it."
Sharp certainly did that Friday, netting his second hat trick in five games to spur a 5-3 win at New Jersey
"He has that eye of the tiger," goaltender Antti Raanta said of Sharp. "You can see it in the practice. He is trying to score every chance he has. When you do that in the practice it usually happens when you get the chances in the game."
Sharp has four goals and six assists over his last six home games versus San Jose (26-10-6). He helped the Blackhawks to a sixth straight victory as host over the Sharks, scoring two goals and setting up another by Jonathan Toews in a 5-1 win Nov. 17.
Toews, practically a certainty for the Canada roster, has put together his own strong stretch of late. The captain has 18 points in 13 games (three goals, 15 assists), including 10 in the last six.
Kane is second in the league with 54 points (23 goals, 31 assists), and he has 25 in 27 career meetings with the Sharks, including the playoffs. The right wing was already named to the United States team headed for Sochi.
The Sharks are concerned with their fitness heading to Chicago, where they haven't won since Dec. 30, 2010.
Those worries stem from giving up the first four goals Saturday, before having their comeback fall short in a 4-3 loss at Colorado. San Jose outshot the Avalanche 33-21, including 10-4 in the third period.
"We expended or used up a lot of energy to come within one," coach Todd McLellan said. "We're in the midst of a tough schedule, played guys down the stretch an awful lot and still (came up) short. We play (Sunday) and we used up a lot of gas."
Patrick Marleau had one goal and two assists Saturday, giving him six points in five games. However, he's likely in for a stiff test since he has just one goal in his last eight meetings with the Blackhawks.
Joe Pavelski enters this matchup riding a seven-game point streak, during which he's totaled five goals and four assists. Unlike Marleau, Pavelski may be looking forward to facing Chicago. He's totaled 21 points in 24 regular-season meetings, getting one point in five of the past six games, including a goal Nov. 17.
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