Oilers battle Blackhawks tonight at Rexall Place
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (15-6-7) at
EDMONTON OILERS (14-12-2)
Start Time: 7:38 p.m. MST
Television: TSN (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes
|Jonathan Toews #19 and Aaron Johnson #23 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Andrew Cogliano #13 of the Edmonton Oilers go for the puck on October 22, 2008 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
LINEUP UPDATES: Liam Reddox is slotting back on the fourth line with Jason Strudwick the likely scratch... Mathieu Garon will be getting the start in goal tonight.
by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
The last time the Oilers faced the Blackhawks, a four-game win streak turned into the beginnings of a five-game losing streak.
Edmonton was shut out 3-0 on Oct. 22 at the United Center in Chicago which ended the blissful unbeaten start of the season for the Oilers.
This time, it’s the Blackhawks who are on a four-game win streak and the Oilers will try to return the streak-ending favour tonight at Rexall Place.
Edmonton’s attempt to go over .500 at home for the first time since Nov. 15 will be a tough test as the Blackhawks have gone 5-1-0 versus Northwest opponents in addition to their win-streak.
If there is a plus side to facing a hot team that sits fourth in the Western Conference it is that the Oilers play Chicago much better at home. Edmonton won both home games versus Chicago last season and the Oilers are 27-19-5-0 all time playing at home against the Blackhawks.
Edmonton is coming off a 3-0 shutout win—their first of the season—versus the Vancouver Canucks whom they’ll face tomorrow in Vancouver.
The Oilers are back at Rexall Place on Friday to face the Anaheim Ducks.
Note: The NHL opportunity for recent call-ups Gilbert Brule
and Rob Schremp is over for the time being as the two forwards have been sent back to the Springfield Falcons of the AHL.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH:
Robert Nilsson made a fast impact after coming back from an upper body injury. He scored on a breakaway vs. Vancouver and will play his 100th game as an Oiler tonight...Erik Cole has been playing a physical game of late, drawing penalties and crashing the net. He has four goals and one assist in six career games vs. Chicago...Dwayne Roloson is coming off a his, and the Oilers, first shutout of the season.
BLACKHAWKS TO WATCH:
Chicago assistant captain Patrick Sharp leads the team in goals with 17—tied for fourth in the league—and scored in their last game vs. Columbus...Patrick Kane lead the ‘Hawks with 34 points...Nikolai Khabibulin
shut out the Oilers in the two teams’ first meeting this season and has only one regulation loss all season long.
Edmonton – Steve MacIntyre
(orbital bone) is out. Fernando Pisani (ankle) is out. Chicago - Adam Burish and Aaron Johnson are out.
TThe Oilers are 45-45-12-0 all-time versus the Blackhawks including a 27-19-5-0 record at home...last season the Oilers were 3-1-0 against the Blackhawks, winning both home games and one in Chicago...Chicago will host Winter Classic 2009 on Jan. 1, an outdoor game between the Blackhawks and Red Wings at Wrigley Field...Ales Hemsky
needs six points for 300 in his career...Robert Nilsson plays his 100th game as an Oiler tonight.
Rob Schremp assigned to Springfield
- General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have recalled left winger Liam Reddox
from the AHL's Springfield Falcons and placed defenceman Ladislav Smid
on the NHL Injured Reserve List. ...more
The Other Side
- "Vote Blackhawks Day" in Chicago today - The Blackhawks will set up remote voting stations TODAY around the Chicago area to help Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brian Campbell get elected as starters in the 2009 NHL All-Star Game. ...more
- Roomies: Patrick Sharp & Adam Burish - Blackhawks roommates Patrick Sharp and Adam Burish take you on a behind-the-scenes look at life on the road. Find out who rules the remote, how the two became roomies and more! ...more
- Blackhawks recall Wisniewski - The Blackhawks have recalled defenseman James Wisniewski from Rockford and have activated him from IR. Wisniewski has been recovering from a knee injury sustained during the offseason. ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- The Link: Erik Cole Shares a Book - In today's episode of The Link, we join Erik Cole as he visits a local school and we talk to Schoena Strudwick about her business venture. ...more
- 5 Questions with Zack Stortini - A group of Australian rockers and a pair of Italian brothers are among Zack Stortini's favourite things. Click the link for his answers to five frequently asked fan questions. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
The streaking Chicago Blackhawks are still without a regulation loss in December, but the majority of their success has come at the United Center.
They'll soon find out whether they can keep it up on the road.
The Blackhawks carry a four-game winning streak into their three-game swing through western Canada, but they've lost five straight in Edmonton, where the trip starts Tuesday against the Oilers.
Chicago is 5-0-1 this month, the lone defeat being a 5-4 road shootout loss to Stanley Cup champion Detroit on Dec. 6. Four of the Blackhawks' wins - the most recent coming Sunday, 3-1 over Columbus - have been at home, where they're 10-1-4 this season.
On the road, they've lost four of five to fall to 5-5-3, closing their last multi-game trip with three straight losses in California from Nov. 26-29. Coach Joel Quenneville is hoping this week's journey through Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver won't be a repeat of that.
"It will be a fun trip for us," Quenneville said. "... It's a good test playing those teams up there. They're all teams that are in the same pack that we're in and they will all be meaningful games."
The young Blackhawks (15-6-7) will certainly hit the road with plenty of momentum, having outscored opponents 16-5 during their season high-tying four-game run. They haven't won five in a row since the 2001-02 season, which was also the last time they reached the playoffs.
Martin Havlat scored the winner against the Blue Jackets, while Patrick Sharp got his team-leading 17th goal.
Chicago's top five point scorers - Havlat, Sharp, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Kris Versteeg - are 27 years old or younger and pace a team that's fourth in the NHL with 3.46 goals per game.
The Oilers (14-12-2) have also been hot lately, winning four of five. Edmonton picked up a 3-0 home victory over Vancouver on Saturday - a game coach Craig MacTavish thinks could be a breakthrough for his club.
"It was the first game all year where I can say that everybody played well," MacTavish said. "It was the first real complete 60-minute game we have played all year. Normally, there have been patches of the game where there are some poor performances, but everybody did their job tonight."
Dwayne Roloson made 23 saves for his third straight victory and first shutout since Feb. 22, 2007, while Dustin Penner's goal less than a minute into the game stood up as the winner.
"It was important to get a win like this, especially in our own building where we haven't played our best hockey," Roloson said.
The win was just Edmonton's fourth in 10 games at Rexall Place this season, but that might not matter much to the Blackhawks as they visit the NHL's northernmost venue. They've been outscored 18-5 while going 0-4-1 in their last five visits.
Chicago beat the Oilers 3-0 the teams' first meeting of the season Oct. 22, getting 23 saves from Nikolai Khabibulin in his only shutout this season.
It's unclear if Khabibulin will start over Cristobal Huet on Tuesday. Khabibulin is 3-7-1 with a 3.14 goals-against average at Edmonton, while Huet has never played there.
Either way, the Blackhawks defense should get a boost from defenseman James Wisniewski, who's on track to see his first action of the season following knee surgery over the summer.