CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (23-24-5) at
EDMONTON OILERS (24-26-5)
7:08 p.m. MST
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Blackhawks Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
The Edmonton Oilers wrap up a four-game homestand tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks looking to make a move in the standings.
Chicago currently sits 14th in the Western Conference while Edmonton sits 13th but heading into last night’s action, both teams were still within striking distance of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
The Oilers kicked off January with five wins in their first seven games but then only won two of their next seven after that. They took the first step towards righting the ship on Monday night with a big 5-0 win over the Calgary Flames. The Oilers can put some distance between themselves and the 14th place ‘Hawks with a victory this evening in addition to closing the playoff race gap.
January was quite the opposite for Chicago as they opened it with four straight regulation losses and an 0-6-1 record. By the middle of January, the Blackhawks started to turn things around. They won their next four games, including two straight in a shootout.
The Blackhawks are now winless in their last four games (0-3-1) and suit up for game three of a five-game road trip this evening.
Edmonton and Chicago have split their two previous meetings with each team winning at home. Edmonton won 3-2 in a shootout on Tickets for Troops night on November 24 while Chicago was victorious 3-2 in regulation on December 23.
Just The Facts...
LINEUP UPDATE (12:10 PM):
Robert Nilsson draws back into the lineup tonight, replacing Curtis Glencross... Mathieu Garon starts in goal.
OILERS TO WATCH:
Defenceman Tom Gilbert
has eight goals on the season which puts him in a tie for 10th this season among NHL rearguards. With 19 points, Gilbert leads all Oilers defencemen in both points and goals… Geoff Sanderson returned to the Oilers lineup two games ago and picked up an assist in each game since his return. Counting his previous game before his one-month hiatus from the lineup, Sanderson is on a three-game scoring streak. He is two points away from 700 in his career (454 goals, 444 assists)… With the season-ending injury to Shawn Horcoff
, rookie centre Sam Gagner
is going to need to step up his play. He did just that Monday against Calgary with a goal and an assist in 20:02 of ice time… Fernando Pisani’s goal last game was his first since December 29 – a span of 16 games. His linemate, Andrew Cogliano
assisted on that goal and has two goals and six points in his last seven games with a +3 rating.
BLACKHAWKS TO WATCH:
Chicago is led offensively by a quartet of players who had 150 NHL games between them heading into the 2007-08 season. Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Dustin Byfuglien make up four of the ‘Hawks top five scorers. Kane leads the Blackhawks and all NHL rookies with 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists)… Sharp had 19 career goals in 116 games going into the 2007-08 season but he has found his offensive game and leads Chicago with 23 goals in 50 games this season. Sharp is tied with Robert Lang for second on the team with 37 points overall… Fourth on the team in scoring is Jonathan Toews with 15 goals and 32 points while fifth is defenceman Dustin Byfuglien. With nine goals and 23 points in 39 games, Byfuglien is tied for seventh in the NHL in goals among blueliners.
Edmonton – Shawn Horcoff
(shoulder) is out. Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; Chicago – Kris Versteeg (sprained shoulder) is doubtful. Martin Lapointe (bruised kidney) is doubtful. Ben Eager (concussion) is doubtful. Dave Bolland (finger) is doubtful. Jason Williams (hernia) is out.
Tonight's game is the 100th all-time meeting between the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks. After 99 games, the record between the clubs is nearly dead even with Chicago holding the slight edge at 43-44-12... Brent Seabrook leads the Blackhawks with two goals in two games played head-to-head this season... Geoff Sanderson is Edmonton's leading point-getter against Chicago with two points (both assists) in two games... The Oilers power play is 1-for-8 (12.5%) versus the Blackhawks this season and their penalty kill is 9-for-10 (90.0%)... Each team has scored five goals in the head-to-head series but Chicago has outshot Edmonton 74 to 58.
- Pre-Game comments from Moreau, Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson & MacTavish. 700K
Patrick Thoresen sent to Springfield on a conditioning assignment
- The Edmonton Oilers have sent forward Patrick Thoresen to the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment. ...more
The Other Side
- Hawks grab point in shootout loss - The Hawks were taken down by a familiar foe Saturday, as former Blackhawk Jeremy Roenick put a wrister past Nikolai Khabibulin in a shootout to seal Chicago's 3-2 loss to the Sharks at the HP Pavilion. Patrick Sharp scored his 23rd goal of the year. ...more
Item of the Game
- Tonight's item of the game is a Ladies Braided Hood. (Regular $69.99 on sale for $49.99)
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Andrew Cogliano on Oilers Live - Edmonton Oilers rookie centre Andrew Cogliano will be the guest on Oilers Live this Thursday, February 7 at 1:30 p.m. MST. Follow the link to get your question in! ...more
From the Wire
The Edmonton Oilers won't let the loss of their leading scorer prevent them from trying to make a run at the postseason.
The Oilers look to win their second straight game since learning Shawn Horcoff will miss the rest of the season when they face the struggling Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.
Edmonton (24-26-5) avoided a third consecutive loss with a 5-0 win over Calgary on Monday night, hours after Horcoff announced he will have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The 29-year-old All-Star forward had 21 goals and 29 assists in 53 games in 2007-08.
While Horcoff's loss is a major blow to the Oilers, who are last in the Northwest Division and 13th in the Western Conference, they are still very much in striking distance of the eighth and final playoff spot.
"There are only two ways you can deal with losing your best player," said defenseman Steve Staios, who had a goal Monday. "One is to use it as a crutch and an excuse, and the other way is to come out and give your best."
Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner each had a goal and an assist Monday, while Mathieu Garon made 24 saves for his fourth shutout of the season as the Oilers improved to 1-2-0 on their four-game homestand.
"It's a game we needed and points that we needed," said Edmonton's Jarret Stoll, who had two assists. "On the day that (Horcoff) made it official that he's gone for the season, it shows that we're not going to give up."
Hemsky, second on the team with 47 points, could have more of an offensive impact in Horcoff's absence. He has three goals and five assists in 14 career games against Chicago, including a goal in the Oilers' 3-2 shootout home win over the Blackhawks on Nov. 24.
Garon, 16-12-1 with a 2.43 goals-against average, is likely to be back in net Wednesday after his performance against Calgary. He made 31 saves in the Oilers' 3-2 loss at Chicago on Dec. 23 in the teams' most recent meeting, but is 4-2-0 with a 2.15 GAA in his career versus the Blackhawks.
Although the Oilers have lost two of three to the Blackhawks, they'll look for their fifth straight win at home in the series.
Chicago (23-24-5), making its third stop on a season-high seven-game road trip, fell 3-2 in a shootout at San Jose on Saturday. The Blackhawks are 0-3-1 since winning four in a row from Jan. 13-19.
Despite being just eight wins shy of matching last season's total, the young Blackhawks are last in the Central Division and two points behind Edmonton in the West.
Patrick Sharp and All-Star Duncan Keith had goals Saturday, while Nikolai Khabibulin made 37 saves for Chicago.
Although Khabibulin is 0-8-2 with a 3.22 GAA since winning four in a row, he could be back in goal Wednesday after a solid performance over the weekend.
"His performance was incredible," coach Denis Savard said. "I believe in him, and he's a battler. You don't win a (Stanley) Cup (by) not competing and not being as good as he is."
Khabibulin is 3-1-1 with a 1.59 GAA in his last five starts versus the Oilers.