Blackhawks’ Canadian leg of their circus road trip continues in Edmonton
The Blackhawks’ circus trip continue, and they are facing their 3rd Canadian team in the Edmonton Oilers. Both Blackhawks (16-4-4) and Oilers (7-15-2) are on win streaks and this match-up between two team full of skilled players is expected to be fast and hard.
Chicago is looking to keep their consistency up after having a few up and down games and shaky goaltending, while the Oilers are just battling for more points with plenty of injuries on their side, a barely there defence and issues in goaltending as well.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has been a lot stronger the past two games than in the previous couple of contests, making 36 saves against Vancouver on Saturday night. “I love the way he played,” said Coach Joel Quenneville to ESPN’s Monte Stewart. “It was nice to see him really strong in the net. He had a lot of bodies and shots and traffic when the game was on the line, and I liked his response.” It would not be surprising for him to get the nod against Edmonton.
Right-winger Patrick Kane is on a 10-game points streak, recording 5 goals and 9 assists in the period. He leads the team with 25 points and Captain Jonathan Toews riding his coattails with 23 (11G, 12A). Right-wing Marian Hossa did not play against Vancouver, flying back to Chicago for family matters, and it is unclear whether or not he will be in against Edmonton. He’s been out with a lower-body injury for three games before coming back against the Winnipeg Jets, scoring a goal and an assist during the game. Bryan Bickell is still out with a lower-body injury, while centerman Michal Handzus has been reactivated from IR.
For the Oilers, it’s right-winger Jordan Eberle that is leading the points race with 20 (8G, 12A). But left-winger David Perron, trailing right behind with 18 (8G, 10A) has been very strong for the Oilers and is proving to be their best acquisition of the summer, when the Oilers signed him from the St Louis Blues. He is on a 3-game points streak and has also improved his 2-way defensive play, making him a key piece all over the ice for Edmonton. 2010 1st overall draft pick Taylor Hall (6G, 10A) has only been back recently from injury, but he already is putting up numbers and playing strong for his team, as is 2011 1st overall draft pick, center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (5G, 13A).
Goalie Devan Dubnyk will most likely get the start in goal for the Oilers, but they could choose to put in Ilya Bryzgalov, their latest signing, who is back in the NHL after some rough season with the Philadelphia Flyers. Whichever goalie gets the nod, it will be an interesting match-up against Chicago, as some of the Oilers most famous games in recent history have been against the Blackhawks, like Sam Gagner’s 8-points game in 2012.
The Oilers-Blackhawks games tend to be fast-paced, skilled affairs, and this one should be no different.
Game time is 9.30 p.m. ET and can be seen live on CSN-CH and SNET-W.