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Don’t Hurt Yourself: Blackhawks at Oilers Preview

Will the Blackhawks pick up their losing streak after the All-Star break?

Chicago Blackhawks v Edmonton Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks face off in NHL action
Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Picking up where they left off is likely not where the Chicago Blackhawks want to start what is essentially the second half of the season, as the Blackhawks are currently on a three-game losing streak.

Instead, the Blackhawks will look to stop that skid when the play the Edmonton Oilers on the road on Wednesday night.

Edmonton lost on Tuesday night against the Vegas Golden Knights, having gone into the All-Star break off of a victory. However, the Oilers are a hard team to beat with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, both All-Stars.

Edmonton is led in points by Draisaitl, who has 63 in 42 games, including 32 goals. McDavid is not far behind with 60 points, including 23 goals, in one fewer game than Draisaitl. The next highest Oiler has almost half as many points: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with 33 points in 35 games.

Edmonton is actually a team capable of moving the puck this season, something they largely haven’t been with McDavid and Draisaitl in previous years. Edmonton is a top-ten team in shot attempt share this season (52.04 percent) and is in the top half of the league in quality as well: 15th in expected goal share at 51.08 percent.

Edmonton’s defense, once a weak spot of the team, is also 15th in the league with 2.39 expected goals against per 60 at 5-on-5. However, Edmonton’s penalty kill remains subpar compared to the rest of the league (which is to say, not as weak as the Blackhawks’) and is only killing 77.4 percent of the team’s penalties, however.

The Oilers’ power play remains one of the best in the league, which makes sense, considering that the team has McDavid and Draisaitl, both of whom have scored 25 points on the power play so far this season.

The Blackhawks stand a chance because the Oilers do have one definitive weakness: goaltending. Edmonton has a .898 team save percentage, with Mike Smith at a .898 on the season and Stuart Skinner leading the team at .908.

The Oilers have plenty of scoring talent at the top of their roster, but do not have the most depth in the league. The key to winning is to limit McDavid and Draisaitl, and if the Blackhawks do that, they could stand a chance to secure their first win in February.

Blackhawks — Statistic — Oilers

46.85% (26th) — 5-on-5 Corsi For — 52.04% (10th)

46% (26th) — 5-on-5 Expected goals for — 51.08% (15th)

2.37 (29th) — Goals per game — 3.31 (10th)

3.37 (25th) — Goals against per game — 3.29 (22nd)

49.3% (18th) — Faceoffs — 52.1% (7th)

19% (19th) — Power play — 28.5% (3rd)

74.6% (27th) — Penalty kill — 77.4% (21st)

Projected lineups (subject to change)

Blackhawks

DeBrincat — Strome — Kane

Kurashev — Dach — Hagel

Kubalik — Borgstrom — Lafferty

Connolly — Carpenter — Entwistle

de Haan — S. Jones

McCabe — Murphy

Kalynuk — Gustafsson

Fleury

Soderblom

Oilers

Kane — McDavid — Yamamoto

McLeod — Draisaitl — Kassian

Hyman — Nugent-Hopkins — Puljujarvi

Foegele — Shore — Ryan

Nurse — Bouchard

Keith — Ceci

Lagesson — Barrie

Smith

Skinner

How to watch

When: 7:00 p.m. CT

Where: Rogers Place, Edmonton

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Webstream: ESPN+