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Preview: Game 15 Oilers @ Blackhawks

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Four games under .500, the Oilers begin a four game roadie in Chicago

An assist last game gives Nail Yakupov 9 on the year.  He's tied for third in team scoring (2-9-11)
An assist last game gives Nail Yakupov 9 on the year. He's tied for third in team scoring (2-9-11)
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports


Edmonton

@

Chicago
5-9-0, 10 points, .714 p/g Ranks 7-6-1, 15 points, 1.071 p/g
Eastern Conference - 13th Western Conference - 8th
27th P/G 16th
14th ST 12th
25th S/G 2nd
27th Goal 15th
6 PM MDT
TV - Sportsnet, NHL-Network (USA)
Radio - 630 CHED
Rexall Place
The opposing view: Second City Hockey


When Two Is Too Many

The Oilers allowed just two goals to a high octane Penguins team.  That's a good thing.  Unfortunately for the Oilers, a single goal from Oscar Klefbom wasn't enough to get Edmonton their sixth win of the season.  Edmonton leaped to a 1-0 lead on the goal from Klefbom just forty-five seconds into the second period.  Daniel Sprong scored the equalizer midway through the period, and Phil Kessel scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period to give the Penguins the lead for good.

Things don't get any easier for the Oilers as they visit Chicago today for the first of a four game road trip.  Let's see who's saying what, as we head to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

"We know what we're going into...We're going into a tough spell on the road, but that's OK.  We'll go out and it'll be a new experience for us.  We'll play against some hard, heavy teams and we'll work on our game.  We'll try to get better."

Source

That's Oilers head coach Todd McLellan on his team's upcoming road trip.  The Oilers will play 9 of their next 11 games on the road.  For a team that's four game under .500, that's a scary proposition.

The next eleven games will see the Oilers take on the Blackhawks (twice), Anaheim, LA, Washington, Detroit, and Pittsburgh.   It's the second week of November, and we're once again in make-or-break territory for the Oilers.  Something awful like two wins in their next eleven and...well, you know how it goes.  Let's not go there yet.

The opponents are saying

"We've been around for a long time, a lot of the guys in here, so there's no panic at all."

Source
That's Blackhawks defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson on his team's struggles away from home.  Chicago is a svelte
6-1-1 at the United Center, but only 1-5 away from home.  Hjalmarsson doesn't seem too worried about it.

Have some of this
  • SEASON DEBUT - Jordan Eberle made his season debut against the Penguins after missing the first thirteen games with a shoulder injury.  He played 18:24, spent a couple of minutes on the power play and registered one shot.
  • Check out Sunil's latest on Cam Talbot.  He's had some trouble getting off the ground in Edmonton, but his play should level off.  Should level off, that is.  Talbot's SV% is currently .897, SV%, and the Oilers will no doubt need that to increase sooner rather than later.  Anders Nilsson has started the last two games for Edmonton, and has a .911 SV% in five decisions.  Corey Crawford (6-4-1, .917 SV% / 2.41 GAA / 2 SO) is likely to get the start for the Blackhawks.
  • CHICAGO'S MISSING PIECES - Brent Seabrook is playing with Viktor Svedberg on the top line.  Niklas Hjalmarsson was last seen with Trevor Van Riemsdyk, and Trevor Daley was last paired up with Erik Gustafsson.  There's no Duncan Keith.  The Oilers need to get in there and make some noise.  Add the fact that the Blackhawks aren't scoring a whole lot (35 goals in 14 games, averaging 2.5 goals per game) and though it might seem unlikely, the Oilers can emerge from this one on top.
  • For the Oilers, Connor McDavid (deep heavy sigh, clavicle), Lauri Korpikoski (undisclosed / concussion?) Justin Schultz (back) and Rob Klinkhammer (lower body) are out of the lineup.   For Chicago, Artem Anisimov (lower body), Marian Hossa (lower body), Duncan Keith (knee) and Michal Roszival (ankle) will be missing from action.