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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Oilers have significant changes on the blueline as they face off against Chicago, who are winners of four straight.

NHL: Preseason-Seattle Kraken at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (12-4-0), 1st, Pacific

Chicago Blackhawks (5-9-2, 7th, Central

20 November 2021

Rogers Place

8 PM MST

TV: CBC

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Second City Hockey

A CLINIC

Connor McDavid scored another jaw dropping goal when he scored his eleventh goal of the season. He had another in the shootout as did Kyle Turris in Edmonton’s 2-1 shootout victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night. Normally, a killer McDavid goal would be the big story after a close win, but Thursday night belonged to Stuart Skinner and his 46-save performance. Skinner stopped all but one of 47 shots en route to his first win of the season, and it will be hard act to follow.

The Oilers host the Blackhawks tonight, there will be some notable lineup changes on defence due to injuries. Can the Oilers hang on for win number 13 on the season?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“It was an exciting game...It was a hard-fought battle all night between both teams. It was a hard-fought win. It was huge getting [McDavid’s] goal to tie it up, and then the kill in overtime really got us the momentum going into the shootout and we were able to capitalize. It was huge that we got the win.”

Source

That’s Stuart Skinner after Edmonton’s 2-1 win over Winnipeg on Thursday night.

Skinner’s performance is memorable, kind of like when Ben Scrivens made 59 saves against the Sharks back in 2014. Skinner took care of all but one shot sent his way, marvellous for a goaltender making only his fourth career start. He’ll get another chance to turn heads tonight, as he’s scheduled to make the start.

THE BLACKHAWKS ARE SAYING

“We’ve got to figure out a way to play a little bit better with the lead...Just seemed like it was a lot of like chasing the puck, get it out of the zone, and they come out and do the same thing over and over again. It’s not really the recipe for success. That should be the fun time to play hockey, and when you have the lead, the other teams take chances, and you can take advantage.”

Source

That’s Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after his club’s 4-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday.

After an especially slow start to the season (1-9-2), the Blackhawks are winners of four straight.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • The Blackhawks have had some recent success, winning their last four in a row. The line of Alex DeBrincat - Kirby Dach - Patrick Kane is a line that the Oilers will need to keep an eye on, as this trio have combined for five points last game (2-3-5)
  • Both Darnell Nurse and Slater Koekkoek sustained injuries in Thursday’s win. While Koekkoek is day-to-day, Darnell Nurse suffered a broken finger and will be out for at least a couple of weeks. The Oilers have called up Philip Broberg, who will make his NHL debut tonight. Broberg has had a good start to his season in Bakersfield (0-10-10 in 13 GP), here’s hoping the NHL learning curve is more like a straight line.
  • MAKE IT 16: A goal in regulation and a goal in the shootout keep Connor McDavid’s point streak alive. He’ll try to stretch it to 17 straight games tonight.
  • KEEPING GOOD TIME: With Darnell Nurse out, look for everyone to pick up a few extra minutes on the left side. That starts with Duncan Keith, who is the de facto number one left defenceman on this club in Nurse’s absence. Keith has averaged 20:16 a game so far, I’d expect to see him pick up at least a couple extra tonight. With Philip Broberg making his debut in the lineup tonight and Kris Russell likely rounding out the left side, it will be interseting to see how Coach Tippett deploys his defencemen.
  • KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’: Former Oiler Caleb Jones suffered a wrist injury and was activated from LTIR a couple of days ago. He paired with Riley Stillman for his first game of the season. I’d be somewhat surprised if we didn’t see him tonight on the same pair. Jones was traded by the Oilers along with a third round draft pick for Duncan Keith and Tim Soderlund in July of this year.
  • NET GAINS: Stuart Skinner (1-2-0, .940 SV% / 2.10 GAA) will get the start for the Oilers tonight. The Blackhawks will start Kevin Lankinen (1-2-2, .891 SV% / 3.11) in net.
  • The Oilers have a lot of things going on with the roster tonight: Skinner is back in net, the defence has a lot of moving parts, and the Blackhawks are coming in hot. Edmonton would love a repeat performance from Skinner to give the club a good shot at a W. Hopefully, the Oilers can trim a few shots off the 47 they allowed in Thursdays’ win.