So as I said earlier today, the Blackhawks are in a season-worst 4-game losing streak and have fallen to the 5th overall in the west. One of the strengths this year has been the Hawks ability to stay relatively consistent. They've dropped 3 games in a row a few times but were always able to turn it around for the 4th. Once again though, this is no reason to panic. Even the Scum have gone through a losing streak this year (5 games back in January).
The 5 game homestand the Hawks open today isn't going to be an easy one overall, but it couldn't start out better for the Hawks. In three games so far this year, the Hawks have outscored the Oilers 15-3. The Oilers also played last night in a dominating game against the Avs and hopefully used up their quota of goals with the 8 they dropped on Budaj. The Oilers are fighting for a playoff spot so they're still very dangerous.
Expect special teams to be a big factor in this game. With Pahlsson getting his second game for the Hawks I'd hope to see a strong killing team come out and keep the Oilers 22nd ranked Power play unit off the scoreboard. On the other hand I'd like to see the Hawks PP squads jump all over the Oilers since they're ranked 28th overall on the kill. The Oilers take a lot of penalties as well so the Hawks should do everything they can to take advantage of that.
Roloson got the start last night in Colorado so I'd expect to see backup Deslauriers go tonight. I know you're thinking... who?
|2008 - Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers||8||420||3||2||0||0||25||3.57||225||200||.889||0|
If Desla-saurus does get the start it'll be incredibly easy to see if the Hawks luck has begun to shift. He's been a pretty shitty back up for the workhorse Roloson so if the Hawks are still slumping he'll be standing on his head blocking everything. If the tides have turned than the Hawks will be able to get a few goals in on him quick. If I were Q I'd tell Buff that Deslauriers always keeps a few cheeseburgers on him to get him in front of the net all night. The Hawks can't keep giving weak goalies wide open views of shots and should crash the net early and often this game. Of course the only preview I've read of the game says Roloson could get the start again so this could all be for nothing.
The Oilers also have a couple Brian Campbell-esqe players on their blue line. They can jump in the play with the puck but are liabilities in their own zone. Since the Hawks have had a close look at that type of player all year they hopefully know exactly how to take advantage of it. Luckily for the Hawks they don't have a Keith to go against that style (though really, not many teams have a talent like Keith).
As Sam posted below, it looks like a lot of our wishes have been granted and Khabby could be getting a majority of the starts. Barker is also expected to play tonight despite the dreaded "lower-body injury". The end of this homestand is not going to be easy with San Jose, New Jersey and Vancouver coming so it's crucial for the Hawks to start it off strong.
Lets Go Hawks