The struggling Chicago Blackhawks are back in action tonight as they play host to the Edmonton Oilers. The Blackhawks are 1-1-3 in their last five and have scored more than two goals only once during that stretch. The Oilers have won two of their last three including a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. This is the third and final meeting between the teams. The Blackhawks have won the previous two games, outscoring the Oilers 10-5.
Here are some notes for tonight's game:
- Blackhawks forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp each enter tonight's game on five-game point streaks. Toews has six points during that stretch, while Sharp has seven points. They have been the few bright spots on a struggling Blackhawks offense over the last two weeks.
- Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith leads all defensemen with 43 points. He ranks third in the NHL with 40 assists.
- The Oilers allow a league-worst 3.45 goals per game. With the Blackhawks recent struggles, they should hopefully get back on track tonight.
- Oilers forward Jordan Eberle has five points over his last four games.
- The Oilers are still without defenseman Philip Larsen who is out with an illness. Larsen had three assists against the Blackhawks on November 10.
Battle Between The Pipes
Raanta is expected to get the start as Corey Crawford played last night in Montreal. Raanta is 6-0-2 in his last eight games and has been one of the more impressive rookie stories of the year. He recorded his first career shutout on December 30 against the Los Angeles Kings.
Edmonton Oilers: Devan Dubnyk (11-16-2, 3.30 GAA, .895 SV%)
Dubnyk is 0-2-0 against the Blackhawks this season allowing a total of nine goals on 50 shots. Dubnyk has been shaky in net for the Oilers this season and going up against him could be just what the struggling Blackhawks need to get going again.
Players To Watch
Hossa turns 35 today and what better present could he give to himself than a great game in a Blackhawks victory tonight. Hossa has two goals over his last four games and has been part of a top line that has been producing most of the Blackhawks offense in the new year. Hossa missed the last meeting between the teams due to personal reasons.
Hall is tied for the team lead in goals and leads the team in points. He has four points over his last four games and 12 points over his last nine games. In his fourth year in the league, Hall looks to be on his way to surpassing his season-high totals in goals (27), assists (34) and points (53).
Shaw has failed to record a point over his last six games and has only one point over his last 13 games. Shaw hasn't been playing as physical as he normally does and that is affecting the Blackhawks ability to pressure opponents. Shaw has three goals and one assist in the two meetings against Edmonton this season.
Edmonton Oilers: Forward, Nail Yakupov: 9 G, 8 A, 17 P
After being made a healthy scratch on December 31, Yakupov has responded by recording three points over his last five games. The second year forward from Russia has a high-skill level, but hasn't quite proven he is worthy of the first overall pick in the 2012 Draft. Yakupov has one goal against the Blackhawks this season.
Tonight's game starts at 6 pm. CT.
Let's Go Hawks!
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