Eberle needs to step into the Hall-Hartikainen-Horcoff void. - Bruce Fedyck-US PRESSWIRE
Chicago is riding a streak like the league hasn't seen since Mario Lemieux's Penguins. The Oilers have 3 regulation wins in 17 games. It seems unlikely, but the Oilers desperately need points, and tonight works like any other.
6-3. All the Oilers have to do is go 6-3 on this road trip and they should be in 7th place when they leave Denver. 4-4-1 and they're likely still in 12th place with four teams between them and a playoff spot. It's not likely (they play the 15-0-3 Chicago Blackhawks twice in nine games) but it wasn't likely that the Oilers would come back on Phoenix.
Report: The Blackhawks can thrown it in cruise control from here out and coast into the playoffs. A little bit of effort should keep them ahead of Vancouver for home ice in the West.
Expected Line Combinations
By The Numbers
- The Chicago defense is loaded with names, but it's Nicklas Hjalmarsson leading them in even strength and short-handed time on ice per game.
- The Oilers play their next 9 games in 17 days - their previous 9 games were played in 20 days.
- Surprisingly, Chicago is not Sam Gagner's favorite victim. Gagner has 18 points in 20 career games against the Hawks.
- Nikolai Khabibulin's .923 save percentage against the Blackhawks is his second-highest against the West. His .932 against Phoenix is his career-best against any Western team.
- Ales Hemsky is playing just 16:16 per game. Should this continue, it would be his lowest average time on ice since 2003-04, when he was 20 years old.
- Sam Gagner is the Oilers best regular penalty-killing forward thus far and it's not close. Not only is his shots against/60 of 34.6 the lowest on the team, his shots for/60 of 15.4 is the 8th-highest in the league among regular forwards. Put it together and he's got the sixth-best short-handed Corsi in the league. He's had a bunch of short-handed chances, including some breakaways, but hasn't been able to bury one. It's time to break onto the short-handed goals list.