Oilers host Blackhawks tonight
The Oilers win Tuesday against Calgary moved them into a tie with Minnesota for top spot in the Northwest Division. The victory was the Oilers fourth straight and fifth in their last six games.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks started the season out strong with four wins in their first six games but after an injury to off-season acquisition Martin Havlat in the seventh game, they proceeded to drop eight in a row. They then recovered to pick up points in five straight but lost their last two games in Vancouver and Calgary.
OILERS TO WATCH: Marc-Andre Bergeron has started to see an upswing in his game since being promoted to the top power play unit. Bergeron has three points in his last three games after registering only five assists in his first 16 outings of the season Ales Hemsky has put up 13 of his 18 points on home ice this season and three of his four goals. After a dry spell with only one point in six games, Hemsky now has five points in his last three Marty Reasoner played a season high 16:28 Tuesday against Calgary after being moved to a line with Joffrey Lupul and Raffi Torres.
BLACKHAWKS TO WATCH: Because of injuries, the Blackhawks three key players have not been in the lineup at the same time for a single game this season: Martin Havlat, Michal Handzus and Tuomo Ruutu. Right now, Ruutu is carrying the brunt of the offensive load as the only one of the three in the lineup, netting a goal in each of his last three games. Before his current hot stretch, he had only one goal on the season Although there are rumblings that Brian Boucher might get the start tonight, if Nikolai Khabibulin goes, the Oilers will have their hands full. Khabibulin returned to the lineup last Friday, stopping 42 of 45 shots for a shootout win over Anaheim. Two nights later, he stopped 37 in a 2-1 loss to Vancouver and this past Wednesday he made 36 saves against Calgary in a losing cause.
ROSTER UPDATES: Edmonton – Ethan Moreau (shoulder) is out. Steve Staios (leg) is doubtful; Chicago – Patrick Lalime (back) is out. Martin Havlat (ankle) is doubtful. Michal Handzus (torn ACL) is out. Rene Bourque (neck) is out.
STAIOS STATUS: Oilers defenceman Steve Staios will likely miss tonight's game, marking the end of his team-high 224 consecutive games streak. The injury would mean the return to the lineup of Jan Hejda.
FAST FACTS: In their last 121 games when leading after two periods, the Blackhawks have a record of 90-5-26 A Chicago player has not registered a hat trick in a road game since former Blackhawk Tyler Arnason accomplished the feat on December 28, 2002 at San Jose. Arnason was also the last Blackhawk to get a hat trick at home, March 19, 2004 vs. Vancouver With nine wins on home ice this season in 11 games, the Oilers are second only to Anaheim (10 wins in 15 games) in that category.
NEXT GAME: The Oilers face off against Chris Pronger and the Anaheim Ducks at Rexall Place next Tuesday. Game time is 7:00 p.m. and it can be seen on Molson Canadian Oilers Pay-Per-View.