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Frack this: Blackhawks at Oilers Preview

This could get messy.


Looks like the Chicago Blackhawks are in for another late night on Saturday when they take on the Edmonton Oilers at 9 p.m. CT at the Rogers Place. It’ll be Chicago’s last game before the All-Star break.

The two teams have already met twice this season, and the Oilers won both games: 6-5 and 5-4, respectively. The last time the Oilers won — on Nov. 30 — Leon Draisaitl had two goals and an assist while Brett Kulak, Connor McDavid, Matthias Janmark, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all had two-point nights. All of the aforementioned players will appear in the Oilers’ lineup this Saturday.

Draisaitl and McDavid continue to make the Oilers a competitive team— especially on the power play. Draisaitl currently has 73 points (28 G, 45 A), and is second in the league only to McDavid who has 89 points (40 G, 49 A) and is on an 11-game point streak.

Assuming the intention of the game is to win, a key Blackhawks objective (or a Steve’s key, for all the NBC viewers out there) must be limiting the bloodletting— especially on the power play. If there’s one thing this Oilers team can do, it’s assemble a ruthless powerplay. The Oilers have a top-five power-play percentage the last three consecutive seasons, including two first-place finishes, according to SportingNews:

McDavid and Draisaitl have lethal chemistry and speed, allowing them to complete plays like this:

Or this:

The Oilers lead the league in power-play percentage (31.40) and goals (54), and they also are fourth with 172 power-play opportunities. In December, they scored two PPGs a game for four games in a row. They’re good at this.

Edmonton has a semi-decent record this season (27-18-4 overall and 12-11-3 at home), but the Oilers are 26-6-2 when they score at least three goals. Despite Chicago’s recent play, in five of its last 10 games, they’ve given up at least three goals, which could give the Oilers an edge. The Hawks have conceded a total of 166 goals this season, with a total goal differential of minus-56.

Two other Oilers players to keep an eye on would be Zach Hyman and Evander Kane. Hyman currently has eight goals and eight assists in the past 10 games, while Kane is returning to the roster after taking Wednesday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets due to personal reasons. Kane has 5 goals and 13 points in 17 games this season.

Before discussing the other Kane (Patrick), it is important to lastly note that the Oilers just dropped these $500 All Star Converse:

For $500? Loyal to the oil, indeed.

Back to the Blackhawks.

The Hawks’ have won seven of their last 10 games but are still 31st in the league with an overall record of 14-28-4 — and 6-12-2 on road games. While it may be Dry January for some, it certainly isn’t for Seth Jones, who has two goals and nine assists in the last 10 games. Max Domi is still point leader with 34 points (14 G, 20 A). Patrick Kane has 32 points (9 G, 23 A), which is less than usual for the forward:

Yet Kane still notched an assist and 2 SOG during the Hawks’ 5-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

Other players on the radar are Taylor Raddysh:

And the ever-changing fourth line, which has found some success in recent weeks:

In any case, it could be a tight game, with the Oilers at 7-1-2 in the last ten games and Blackhawks at 7-3. Ultimately, it could come down to who plays cleaner — especially with that Edmonton power play.

Tale of the Tape

Blackhawks — Statistic — Oilers

42.25% (32nd) — Corsi For — 50.80% (15th)

40.50% (31st) — Expected goals for — 51.81% (13th)

2.4 (31st) — Goals per game — 3.7 (4th)

3.36 (15th) — Goals against per game — 3.1 (13th)

56.1% (1st) — Faceoffs — 49.6% (19th)

19.1% (24th) — Power play — 31.4% (1st)

76.2% (21st) — Penalty kill — 75.1% (23rd)

How to watch

When: 9 p.m. CT

Where: Rogers Place, Edmonton

TV: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network

Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.TV