(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks hope to avoid a fourth loss in five games on Sunday evening as they welcome the San Jose Sharks to United Center.
The struggling Blackhawks jumped out to a two-goal lead on Friday versus Washington, but the Capitals scored three goals late in the second period to hand Chicago a 3-2 loss.
Brandon Saad and Duncan Keith netted tallies for the Blackhawks, but the Caps scored twice in the final minute of the second period, including the winner with 4.4 seconds on the clock.
Chicago lost for the sixth time in nine games despite outshooting Washington 40-24.
"All these teams are getting better and tightening up," said Keith. "It's not something new, teams are ready to play against us."
Corey Crawford made 21 saves and will be called upon tonight to get the 'Hawks on track. He is 4-2-3 in his career versus the Sharks with a 2.28 goals against average and .924 save percentage.
The Blackhawks are 4-0-2 in their past six versus the Sharks and had won six in a row over them at home before suffering a shootout setback on Jan. 5.
San Jose kicked off a seven-game road trip on Saturday night with a 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars, with defenseman Brent Burns scoring two of San Jose's four goals in the third period.
Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton also lit the lamp in the third stanza for the Sharks, who are 4-1-1 in their last six games. James Sheppard added one goal and an assist and Logan Couture notched three helpers.
"We just really wanted it," Sheppard said. "We came out hard. We just kept to the same thing and knew that if we played our game in the third that we had a chance, so we just played the whole time."
Alex Stalock made 37 saves for San Jose, which is likely to start Antti Niemi tonight.
Niemi, who won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, is 6-6-1 with a 2.85 GAA and .912 save percentage in 13 games against his former club.