Game Preview : One More For The Road

Jonathan Daniel

Chicago Blackhawks (33 pts 15-0-3) vs Edmonton Oilers (17 pts 7-7-3), 7:30 PM United Center - Chicago IL, TV: CSN Chicago Radio: WGN 720 AM

2011-12 season series

Date
Vis/Home Final
2-Feb-12 CHI@EDM EDM, 8 - 4
2-Jan-12 EDM@CHI EDM, 4 - 3
19-Nov-11 CHI@EDM EDM, 9 - 2
13-Nov-11 EDM@CHI CHI, 6 - 3

The Blackhawks have a quick turnaround after their 1-0 victory over Columbus last night, as we get our first look at the Edmonton Oilers tonight. The Hawks can not over look Edmonton tonight, especially since the Oilers have handed them their collective asses the last three times these two they have met. I am gathering from the "Q speak" after last night's game that Dave Bolland will miss his second straight game due to an upper body injury. He did not confirm who will start in net tonight, but both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery struggled against the Oilers last year. I am willing to bet we see Emery in net tonight, which is the usual formula for back to back games. This is the Blackhawks' third game in four nights, which as we have seen already this season, will take its toll on them as the game wears on. A key to success will be getting out to an early lead while the team is still relatively fresh. The Hawks will be in trouble if they have to play from behind in the 3rd period. The power unit needs to step it up as they have only scored 3 goals on 23 chances during the first six games of this seven game home stand. They are showing their bad habits from a year ago, especially last night. It is very hard to score power play goals with guys standing still. They still need to have more movement from right to left to create holes in the defense.

The Oilers are starting a nine game road trip tonight in Chicago, which is mind boggling. Edmonton will play 37.5% of their road games for the season over the next seventeen days. Edmonton is currently 13th in the Western Conference but only 2 points out of a playoff spot, so this road trip can make or break their season. The Oilers have had a real tough time scoring this season, which is surprising coming from a team that has had the last 33 number one overall picks. Their 2.24 goals per game average has them ranked 27th out of 30 teams. One of their offenses biggest play makers, Taylor Hall, will be sitting out tonight's game as he serves his two game suspension for his knee to knee hit on the Wild's Cal Clutterbuck. Despite the low goal output Edmonton's power play is still pretty dangerous. They have converted on 23.7% of their chances which is good for 7th in the NHL. They have scored nearly have of their goals this year, 18 of 38 total goals, with the man advantage. Former Blackhawk Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start in net tonight for the Oilers. The veteran goaltender has put up decent numbers against his former team in career with a 15-9-1 record, 2.47 GAA, and a .923 save % in 27 career games.

Probable Chicago Blackhawks linuep:

Forwards

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp - Marcus Kruger - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Viktor Stalberg

Daniel Carcillo - Jamal Mayers - Michael Frolik

Defensive Pairings

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Nick Leddy - Michal Rozsival

Goaltender

Ray Emery 7-0-0, 2.10 GAA, .930 save %, 0 SO

Injuries

Dave Bolland (upper body) day to day

Leading Scorers

Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP GW
P. Kane 18 9 14 23 +9 2 3 1
J. Toews 18 7 8 15 +10 17 2 1
M. Hossa 18 8 6 14 +6 12 2 2
P. Sharp 18 4 10 14 +4 12 1 1
D. Keith 18 1 10 11 +3 27 1 0

Probable Edmonton Oilers lineup:

Forwards

Ryan Smyth - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Teemu Hartikainen - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky

Nail Yakupov - Chris Vande Velde - Magnus Paajarvi

Ben Eager - Eric Belanger - Ryan Jones

Defensive Pairings

Nick Schultz - Justin Schultz

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry

Mark Fistric - Corey Potter

Goaltender

Nikolai Khabibulin 2-2-0, 1.89 GAA, .942 save %, 0 SO

Injuries

Anton Lander (foot) OUT, Ryan Jones (eye) OUT, Shawn Horcoff (hand) OUT, Andy Sutton (knee) OUT

Leading Scorers

Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP GW
S. Gagner 17 5 12 17 -5 12 2 1
T. Hall 16 3 13 16 -1 23 0 0
J. Eberle 17 6 6 12 -4 4 3 1
A. Hemsky 17 7 3 10 -6 8 4 0
N. Yakupov 17 5 5 10 -8 12 3 1

EDM
Stats
CHI
17 GP 18
7 W 15
7 L 0
3 OT 3
17 P 33
0.5 P% 0.917
2.24 G/G 3.11
2.65 GA/G 1.78
23.7 PP% 17.3
87.5 PK% 89.6
29.5 S/G 30.6
33.4 SA/G 28
45.8 FO% 50.6

Chicago Blackhawks Tickets

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