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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers @ Chicago Blackhawks

Oilers look to close out five game roadie with a winning record. They’ll get that chance with a visit to Chicago tonight.

Edmonton Oilers v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (30-21-3, 4th, Pacific)

Chicago Blackhawks (19-27-8), 7th, Central)

03 March 2022

United Center

630 PM MT

TV: Sportsnet 1, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Oilers

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Second City Hockey

STOPPING ALL

Mikko Koskinen had a 39-save performance, while the Oilers got goals from Leon Draisaitl, Kailer Yamamoto and an empty-netter from Connor McDavid en route to a 3-0 shutout victory over the Blackhawks. Oilers are 2-2 on their current road trip, they’ll look to close it out with a win in Chicago tonight. The Blackhawks are coming off a shutout loss to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, they’d love to change their tune. Can the Oilers close out their trip with a bang?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“I’ve been feeling pretty good all year...But when you’re winning games, the confidence is growing. It’s going higher right now because we’re winning, and I’ll try to keep it that way.”

Source

That’s Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen after his 39-save shutout performance over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. The shutout is Mikko Koskinen’s first since 2019.

Everything is firing on all cylinders for Mikko Koskinen right now. He’s 7-0-1 over his last starts, and he’s got a plenty good .934 SV% to go with it. It’s a no-brainer to play him tonight.

THE BLACKHAWKS ARE SAYING

“We just didn’t capitalize on our chances. I think we had lots of good looks on a couple of power plays, couple of good chances in the first, they get the lead and we kind of go from there. I think sometimes it feels like you get these chances and they just aren’t going in. We kind of got down and couldn’t’ fight back in it. Disappointing, obviously.”

Source

That’s Dylan Strome after the Blackhawks failed to score a single goal in their 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

The Blackhawks had just enjoyed an eight-goal outburst against the New Jersey Devils prior to running into Jordan Binnington and the Blues on Sunday. Chicago has not won two in a row dating back to mid-January.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • Blackhawks netminder Marc-Andre Fleury controls his destination with a full NMC. With the Blackhawks way away from the playoff cut line, it would be curious for him to want to remain in Chicago. Maybe he likes Chicago, maybe he wants another year. Maybe he doesn’t want to entertain the idea of possibly being dealt back to Vegas after how it ended.
  • The Blackhawks haven’t played a game since Sunday, so here’s looking for the Oilers to get the jump on them early.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is currently listed as week-to-week; he’s back in Edmonton as he recovers from an upper-body injury.
  • Jonathan Toews is set to return to the Hawks lineup after missing a month with a concussion.
  • Leon’s 37th goal of the season was a power play goal against Philadelphia on Tuesday. There’s a fair chance he ends up with 40 before the weekend is over. He hasn’t been on the ice for a 5x5 goal against since Jay Woodcroft became head coach.
  • The Oilers made a few signings over the last 24 hours, and they traded Alex Stalock to a divisional opponent in San Jose. Vincent Desharnais, Dmitri Samorukov and James Hamblin have all signed deals or extensions, which could have some NHL roster implications come training camp 2022. Stalock had a handful of games in Bakersfield on his comeback tour, it will look to continue back in San Jose.
  • Mikko Koskinen is on fire as of late. He’s 7-0-1 in his last eight starts, and he’s keeping nearly everything out of the net. You gotta give him the nod tonight after a 39-save shutout. A win tonight would be 20 on the year.
  • CATCH-22: Ken Holland intimated that he’d more active on deadline day if the Oilers were higher up in the standings. If the Oilers win something like six games between now and deadline day, what’s his motivation to go out and add? Further, if they lose six games, they’d be in sell-mode, right?
  • A win for the Oilers puts them tied for second in the Pacific.