Blackhawks-Oilers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 19, 2011
Two games into a six-game road trip, the Chicago Blackhawks have had mixed results. However, they usually see plenty of consistent play when they visit the Edmonton Oilers. The Blackhawks look to make it seven consecutive wins in Edmonton and send the Oilers to a fifth straight loss Saturday night. Chicago (12-5-3) has split the first two games of its trip, which started with three games through Western Canada. The Blackhawks opened the trek with a 5-1 win at Vancouver on Wednesday but lost 5-2 to Calgary on Friday, snapping a season-high four-game winning streak. The Flames scored twice in the first 57 seconds of the second period and took a 4-2 lead into the second intermission. Viktor Stalberg and Marian Hossa scored, but Corey Crawford struggled while facing 26 shots. "Maybe we thought we were better than we were or looking for an easy game," coach Joel Quenneville said. "All five goals were very generous on our end of it." Chicago will try to bounce back in Edmonton, where it has won six in a row by a combined 30-8 score. Patrick Kane has four goals and nine assists during that stretch while Jonathan Toews has six goals with three assists. Toews set up both goals Friday to extend his point streak to five games. He had five goals in the previous four games, during which Chicago scored 21 times, and has five goals in his last three games against the Oilers, including two in a 6-3 home win last Sunday. He'll try to stay sharp against an Edmonton team that is struggling defensively. The Oilers (9-7-2) have cooled after a hot start, dropping their fourth straight with a 5-2 home loss to Ottawa on Thursday. They have been outscored 20-8 during the slide. "There are holes in our game we need to fix and fix fast," Taylor Hall said. "Losing streaks can define you." Hall is a minus-7 the last six games with no goals and two assists after recording three goals and six assists in his first 10 games. However, a bigger issue has been the team's play in net. Nikolai Khabibulin gave up goals on the first two shots he faced Thursday and was pulled to start the second period. The former Blackhawks netminder has given up 11 goals on 71 shots in his last three starts after allowing nine on 247 in his first nine games. It may not all be on Khabibulin, though, as Edmonton's defense has been weakened by injuries. Andy Sutton, who recently returned from a five-game suspension, was a late scratch with a groin issue, while Corey Potter suffered an ankle injury during the game. Cam Barker (ankle) and Ryan Whitney (knee) remain out. "Any time a player goes down, it's an unfortunate situation," defenseman Jeff Petry told the Oilers' official website. "It's tough, but you've got to push forward." Edmonton has been outscored 15-4 while losing three straight overall to Chicago.
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