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Oilers @ Blackhawks Game 48 Preview

Will the Oilers be able to take advantage of a Hawks team that played in Montréal last night?

Brent Seabrook puts one be- hey, Is that Chris Osgood?
Brent Seabrook puts one be- hey, Is that Chris Osgood?
Jonathan Daniel



15-27-5 .744 p/g Ranks 29-8-10, 1.446 p/g
Western Conference: 14th Western Conference: 2nd
29th P/G 4th
26th ST 2nd
28th ES 3rd
30th Goal 13th
5 PM MDT - Sportsnet West
United Center
The opposing view Second City Hockey

Top Story

  • Oilers take the Penguins down 4-3 in overtime on Friday.  Team trailed 2-0 going into the third, score three, yield one, and score on the power play in overtime to win.  This was a fairly momentous occasion, as the Oilers scored a goal while on the power play instead of allowing one like they usually do.  The Oilers look to create more of these good vibrations tonight in Chicago,

The Oilers are saying

"I thought Nuge did an excellent job, as did his line and the pairings that were out there against him"

That's Oilers Coach Dallas Eakins on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' performance last game versus Pittsburgh

Edmonton's third leading scorer had a pretty productive game against the Penguins.  Score two power play goals and an assist, and everybody seems to forget about your plus/minus rating.  They shouldn't be paying attention to your plus/minus rating because it's a craptastic value to take note of (kind of like Sportsnet's GRIT chart),   Nugent-Hopkins was the key that turned the engine on Friday night.

The Opponent is saying

"...But certainly we're playing the right way, and you know it just seems like the last few games we're a little loose in our game and support -- puck support, puck presence, puck patience, and puck recognition -- is not great"
That's Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville after dropping a 2-1 decision to the Canadiens on Saturday.

The Hawks are 4-1-5 in their last ten games, but the NHL is a special place where you can lose six of ten games and still accumulate 13 out of 20 possible points.

The Oilers have a few things going for them in this game.  Chicago is on the back end of a back-to-back, and they traveled from Québec last night.  And, uh, the Hawks didn't play that great last night either.  In no way do I suggest that this will be an easy game for the Oilers, but if I could realistically pick a time that the Oilers could visit Chicago, on tail end of a back to back after a bad game is a pretty good start.

Of note:
  • Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin is still out.  No, I'm glad you asked, it's a rotator cuff this time
  • This is Edmonton's third and final game against Chicago this year, and of the three games, I think they have a legitimate chance in this one.  When I say "legitimate chance", I really mean that.  Greater than 5%, even.
  • Speaking of goaltenders, both Raanta and Crawford are sporting .911 SV% so far this year.  If Crawford ends this year around that number, it's a bit underwhelming for a guy who signed a six year, thirty-six million dollar extension (with a no-movement clause to boot.) I know a bad goalie contract when I see one.
  • The Blackhawks are averaging 3.61 goals per game this year.  Take comfort in knowing that not even the Oilers are allowing that many on average per game.

The Edmonton Oilers

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Sam Gagner

Nail Yakupov - Mark Arcobello - Jordan Eberle

David Perron - Boyd Gordon - Ales Hemsky

Luke Gazdic - Ryan Smyth - Ryan Jones

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz

Nick Schultz - Anton Belov

Jeff Petry - Martin Marincin

Ilya Bryzgalov


The Chicago Blackhawksman

Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Bryan Bickell - Marcus Kruger - Patrick Kane

Brandon Saad - Michal Handzus - Kris Versteeg

Brandon Bollig - Andrew Shaw - Ben Smith

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Niklas Hjalmarsson - Johnny Oduya

Nick Leddy - Mike Kostka

Antti Raanta