The Oilers are five years into their "Blackhawks model" blueprint and it's going according to plan. The 0-9-1 record against the West and the seemingly random benching of their best two defensemen for a combined 11 games thus far is just what the doctor asked for. Luckily, these are October and November games, games where teams can experiment in the hopes of gaining points in March, when thing really matter. Benoit Pouliot is out with a broken foot, which probably won't matter, considering the way the Oilers have deployed him thus far.
Chicago is 6-4 in their last ten, and boast the 4th-best special teams in the league. They're 3rd at even strength and 7th in goaltending. The Hawks have just one player in the red in ZS Adj Corsi - Andrew Shaw - and he's not even playing tonight. The Oilers have cleverly used score effects to seem like they're a competitive team this season, even though they're only "competitive" when trailing by two or three. That won't work against Chicago. The Blackhawks get up by two and seek to vaporize their opponents - no team is better at even strength up by two or more, and no team has a better goal differential up by two.
How To Tune In
CBC takes this one. Expect Don Cherry to say the Oilers aren't tough enough and need to trade for goons and crappy 4th liners.
What To Watch For From The Oilers
Justin Schultz had been terrible this season, but Dallas Eakins keeps throwing him over the boards. Even though he was the worst player on the ice against the Devils, he led the team in ice time. If he decides to Jultz around the ice against the Blackhawks and Eakins plays him for 23 minutes, expect the Hawks to score 5.
What To Watch For From The Blackhawks
Projected Line Combinations
"It's about a full 60. We need to have accountability from coaches & teammates." David Perron.— Dave Gordon (@RustyKnuckler) November 22, 2014
David Perron and Jeff Petry have been future-traded to the Boston Bruins for a 1st round pick.