Just because the San Jose Sharks are eliminated from playoff contention, coach Bob Boughner won’t tolerate his players playing out the string.

Boughner let it be known he won’t accept what happened in their last outing when the Sharks play host to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

San Jose (30-35-12, 72 points) dropped a 3-1 game on Thursday to the St. Louis Blues, and Boughner didn’t like the way his team went through the motions, especially his leaders. He dropped Timo Meier to the fourth line early in the third period while his team was down a goal.

“You’re not going to win a game scoring one goal, and you’re not going to win against these guys when the power plays are five to one at the end of the night,” Boughner said. “You certainly aren’t going to win against these guys unless your best players are your best players, and all three of those things didn’t happen.”

The Sharks, who have used a franchise-record 18 rookies this season, are in a 1-7-4 slump.

There are some positives for San Jose. Rudolfs Balcers and Noah Gregor have both collected two goals and two assists in respective three-game point streaks. Their linemate, rookie Thomas Bordeleau, the 2020 second-round draft choice who signed with the team after his sophomore season at Michigan, has two assists over his first three NHL games.

“It’s been working out pretty well for us,” Gregor said. “Rudy and I are pretty north and south and (Bordeleau) is able to make plays and hit us with speed, and so far in the games we’ve played together, we’ve played pretty solid.”

The Blackhawks, who have only two wins in their last 13 outings (2-9-2), arrive in San Jose after a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday and are ending a three-game road trip.

Chicago (26-41-11, 63 points) hung tough with a Kings team looking to clinch a playoff spot and held it to a 2-1 score midway through the third period.

“They were buzzing. We knew they were going to come hard, we just couldn’t find the energy,” interim coach Derek King said. “We looked tired physically. We looked tired mentally. We were getting frustrated. Hats off to them.”

Los Angeles held a 17-6 edge in shots in the first period and 11-5 margin in the middle frame.

“We did a good job of clawing back and staying in it,” forward Dylan Strome said. “We kept it 2-1 for a while and had some chances there, especially on the power play. They’re a team that’s desperate, in a playoff spot and fighting to keep it. I think it showed.”

While it’s been a disappointing season for Chicago, forward Alex DeBrincat is finishing strong. DeBrincat, who has collected one goal and eight assists in a five-game point streak, is one goal shy of matching his career best of 41 and tied his career best with 76 points.

He is the eighth player in franchise history to collect multiple 40-goal seasons, joining the likes of Bobby Hull, Steve Larmer, Jeremy Roenick, Denis Savard, Al Secord, Tony Amonte and teammate Patrick Kane.

“I don’t think you cherish it as much when (you score 40) in your second (NHL) season, and then you realize how hard it is to get back,” DeBrincat said.

–Field Level Media