Boy did they come close against the Winnipeg Jets, taking a two-goal lead in the first period, but an inability to score at 5-on-5 and a defensive breakdown led to their inevitable defeat.
Edmonton has made multiple changes in their organization since Chicago last saw them in February. They unloaded general manager Peter Chiarelli and replaced him with Ken Holland (formerly of Detroit), and hired Dave Tippett as head coach. They also traded Milan Lucic for James Neal, who had struggled in Calgary. That turned out to be one of the best/most lopsided trades of the offseason, and Neal has seven goals in five games (Lucic has zero points and 26 PIM for Calgary).
That’s in part due to the man playing with him, Connor McDavid. McDavid has 12 points in five games, four goals and eight assists. Leon Draisaitl, as always, is right there with him with four goals and seven assists. The Oilers’ most important defensemen, Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse, have also had an impressive start to the season with seven and five points, respectively.
Edmonton currently holds the division lead in the Pacific Division with ten points in the standings, two points ahead of the preseason favorite Golden Knights.
The Oilers’ goaltending hasn’t been great, with Mike Smith at a 0.907 save percentage over his first three starts and Mikko Koskinen, who has started twice, at a 0.914 mark.
Corey Crawford is expected to start for the Blackhawks. He carries at 0.875 save percentage and has allowed nine goals through two games, but has faced 72 shots.
Tale of the tape
Blackhawks — Statistic — Oilers
44.3% (29th) — Corsi For — 46.5% (25th)
47.6% (T-24th) — Faceoffs — 47.4% (T-27th)
3.00 (18th) — Goals per game — 4.20 (2nd)
4.00 (26th) — Goals against per game — 2.60 (T-8th)
33.3% (T-4th) — Power play — 41.2% (2nd)
60.0% (29th) — Penalty kill — 94.1% (2nd)
DeBrincat — Toews — Caggiula
Shaw — Strome — Kane
Saad — Kampf — Kubalik
Smith — Carpenter — Nylander
Keith — Murphy
Maatta — Seabrook
De Haan — Gustafsson
Draisaitl — McDavid — Kassian
Jurco — Nugent-Hopkins — Neal
Khaira — Sheahan — Archibald
Nygard — Granlund — Chiasson
Nurse — Bear
Klefbom — Persson
Russell — Benning
How to watch
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network
Live stream: NBC Sports app