Two major contenders for Macklin Celebrini clash in Chicago as Sharks face Blackhawks

Jan 16, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Rem Pitlick (20) scores past San
Jan 16, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Rem Pitlick (20) scores past San / Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

A defeat in Columbus sees the San Jose Sharks' struggles continue, However, tonight the Sharks will face a team that they can beat but it is a game they may not want to win as an organization. It's the Chicago Blackhawks who host the Sharks in this game. Two teams that have struggled to collect points will collide with two of the worst seasons in an 82 game season the league has seen.

Both sets of players will be looking at this as a winnable game. Neither squad has enjoyed this season as they sit adrift at the bottom of the standings. The Sharks are currently two points behind the Blackhawks in the standings with an extra game to play, but tonight will change that. The status quo will not be in tact when the two teams play each other. Whether this gap grows or shrinks, only time knows the answer.

Devin Cooley will get his first NHL start tonight. He's bounced around the AHL, and backed up a few times, but tonight will be his debut. His reward for his hardwork and determination to get into the show? Connor Bedard. The junior shark will get to show he's an NHL caliber goaltender ahead of next season when the Sharks are going to have to decide what to do in net.

Projected Lineups

San Jose Sharks

Alexander Barabanov - Mikael Granlund - Fabian Zetterlund
Filip Zadina - William Eklund - Luke Kunin
Thomas Bordeleau - Nico Sturm - Klim Kostin
Justin Bailey - Ryan Carpenter - Kevin Labanc
Mario Ferraro - Calen Addison
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Henry Thrun
Jacob MacDonald - Kyle Burroughs
Devin Cooley
Magnus Chrona

Chicago Blackhawks

Tyler Johnson - Connor Bedard - Philipp Kurashev
Colin Blackwell - Jason Dickinson - Joey Anderson
Lukas Reichel - Andreas Athanasiou - Nick Foligno
Landon Slaggert - Ryan Donato - Taylor Raddysh
Alex Vlasic - Seth Jarvis
Kevin Korchinski - Jaycob Megna
Jarred Tinordi - Nikita Zaitsev
Petr Mrazek
Arvid Soderblom

Puck Drop

This will be a 5 p.m. puck drop from the United Center in Chicago. A decade ago, these two teams were fighting for Stanley Cup Finals berths, but now they are competing for the first overall pick. If the Sharks come up short in this one, they will be in pole position to finish last in the standings, which gives them an 18% chance at the first overall pick and the right to draft Macklin Celebrini.