Halfway through their February schedule, the San Jose Sharks are still looking for their first victory of the month.
That task doesn't get much easier for the Sharks on Friday night as they visit a Chicago Blackhawks club that is still without a regulation loss on the season.
San Jose and Chicago emerged from the month of January as two of the top teams in the NHL, with the Sharks winning all seven of their games and the Blackhawks taking their first six before ending the month with a shootout loss.
But while Chicago has yet to lose in a 60-minute game, posting an NHL-best 10-0-3 mark so far, San Jose has struggled to an 0-3-3 record in February. The Sharks have been held to a pair of goals or fewer in five of those six setbacks, getting shut out twice.
That includes Tuesday's 1-0 overtime defeat to the Nashville Predators, who got the winner at the 2:08 mark of the extra frame when Colin Wilson deflected a shot past Sharks netminder Antti Niemi.
Niemi ended with 24 saves, but was outdueled by Nashville's Pekka Rinne and his 25 stops. The Sharks failed to grab a lead despite outshooting the Predators 13-3 in the first period.
"We have to find a way to get over the hump, get one by some goaltenders and find some wins here," San Jose head coach Todd McLellan said.
Jump starting the power play would help. The Sharks went 0-for-6 versus the Predators and have scored just twice on 27 chances with the man advantage over their skid.
The Sharks will play the third contest of a six-game swing on Friday, a road trip that includes another stop in Chicago next Friday.
The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are set to play just their fourth home game of the season after kicking off a seven-game residency with Tuesday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
Chicago had a four-game winning streak snapped as Anaheim scored the game- tying goal with 2:40 left in the third before getting two shootout goals to the Blackhawks' one.
Nick Leddy and Brandon Saad scored 28 seconds apart in the second period for Chicago, while Corey Crawford stopped 29 shots.
"We're up with a couple minutes left and we just get a bad bounce and they tie it," Crawford said. "I felt good but it just seems like I've got to bear down a little bit more in the shootouts."
Patrick Kane did not score a goal for the first time in six games for the Blackhawks, but did notch an assist to extend his point streak to seven straight games (7 goals, 4 assists). He has recorded a point in all but one of his 13 games this season.
Kane scored twice in a 5-3 victory at San Jose on Feb. 5, the Blackhawks' fourth victory in their past six meetings with the Sharks. Saad also scored and Crawford made 30 saves.
Chicago has won three straight and five of its past seven at home versus San Jose.