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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks

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Oilers look to get back into the win column with a visit from Chicago

Chicago Blackhawks v New York Rangers
Drake Caggiula: 1-3-4 in 10 GP with the Blackhawks
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (23-24-5) (6th, Pacific)

Chicago Blackhawks (20-24-9) (7th, Central)

700 PM MST

Rogers Place

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Second City Hockey

SQUANDERING HEIGHTS

The Oilers gave up four power play goals to the Flyers on Saturday, eventually costing them a point in overtime. On Sunday, the Oilers took a 3-2 lead after getting power play goals from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the second period. Montréal’s Jesperi Kotkaniemi would tie it up for the Habs midway through the third on a broken play, while Jonathan Drouin would seal the deal for the Canadiens one minute into overtime.

The Oilers are trying to push closer to the playoffs, but they’re winless in their last five. Can a visit from Chicago change their tunes?

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

We can’t sit back and let them come at us wave after wave. We’ve got to push back and push for the fourth goal instead of just trying to defend the one-goal lead. So we’ve got to do a better job of pushing back

Source

That’s Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl after his club’s 4-3 OTL in Montréal on Sunday afternoon.

The Oilers are 0-3-2 in their last five. They’ve got to start making it happen out there if they’re going to make any sort of run at the playoffs. Vancouver (!) holds the second wild card position at 54 points. The Oilers are up not only against the Canucks, but they’ve got to be better than all four of Colorado, St. Louis, Arizona, and Anaheim, all who are either ahead of or equal to the Oilers in the standings. A win today puts Chicago equal with Edmonton in the standings.

The Blackhawks are saying

Everyone wants to make the playoffs here. It’s not a secret. I think we were five points out coming into this game. ... Anything can happen in this League. I think we needed a good stretch of games to make it close and we’re pushing. These guys have a lot of experience in here and we want to be in the playoffs.

Source

That’s Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome after his club’s 4-3 overtime win over Minnesota on Friday night.

The Blackhawks need to catch lightning in a bottle if they’re going to entertain thoughts of a second season, though a win over Edmonton would put them in the conversation with about five other teams.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • Is this the game that we see the return of Oscar Klefbom? He can’t come back soon enough, but it’s especially important that he’s 100% injury free upon his return. There was some talk about him coming back over the weekend against the Flyers or the Canadiens, but an apparent setback in practice kept him out for a couple more games. Tonight could be the night, keep your eyes peeled for further info.
  • Don’t look now, but Connor McDavid’s got 76 points on the season, exactly four behind Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen (80). It’s just a matter of time.
  • OLD FRIENDS: Drake Caggiula has four points (1-3-4) in ten games since being traded with Jason Garrison for Brandon Manning and Robin Norell.
  • Chicago’s putting the puck in the net at a pretty good pace (3.13 GPG, tenth overall). Keeping it out has been another story (3.68 GAA, 30th overall)
  • NET GAINS: Who starts for the Oilers? Is a less-than-inspiring performance by Mikko Koskinen on Sunday something he can shake off? Or, do you start the goaltender that you’re actively trying to trade? I think the Oilers are going to go with Mikko Koskinen (14-11-2, .893 SV% / 2.84 GAA / 3 SO). Cam Talbot (9-13-3, .893 SV% / 3.34 GAA / 1 SO) The Blackhawks are likely to counter with Cam Ward (9-8-4, .893 SV% / 3.83 GAA).
  • SICK BAY: Andrej Sekera (conditioning stint) has been assigned to Bakersfield, and could be on the active roster after a few games in the AHL. Oscar Klefbom is day-to-day (finger) and could play tonight. For the Blackhawks, goaltneder Corey Crawford is out indefinitely (concussion)