The Blackhawks have improved to 3-1-0 without Patrick Kane (broken clavicle) in their lineup. But they sure aren't making it easy on themselves along the way.
While they won 2-1 in the shootout tonight, they were lucky to get to overtime. They allowed the Oilers 47 SOG (+20 attempts blocked/9 missed shots) - 18 in the first period alone - while only managing 39 SOG (+22/17) of their own. Corey Crawford has gone 3-0-0 in his last three starts, including a shut out, with a .968 sv%: Chicago's challenges aren't on his shoulders. Ben Scrivens took the loss for the Oilers despite an excellent performance.
Derek Roy had the first goal of the game with 4:45 left...
The Avalanche had a "goalie win" versus the Blackhawks earlier this week; last night, Chicago did the same versus the Wild.
There's been few games this season where the Blackhawks have been held under 25 SOG; last night, they had just 20 - but 4 of them were goals, including one empty-netter.
Chicago broke the streak they were on by scoring first, for the first time in seven games, a Patrick Sharp goal 5:08 into the opening period. Patrick Kane would stretch the lead to 2-0 by the end of the period with a power play goal on Thomas Vanek's 5-minute penalty.
Jason Zucker put the Wild on the board just 1:03 into the second.
The Chicago Blackhawks (11-7-1) continue their circus trip with a game at the Oilers tonight in Edmonton.
This season, the Oilers are languishing at the bottom of the Pacific division with a 6-11-2 record. They're having problems scoring, and more importantly, they're having problems keeping the other teams' goals out of their net: they have 3.37 GAA versus 2.53 G/G. Their power play is more like a power pffft and their penalty kill is below 80%. The Oilers have won just 2 of 10 games they've played to date in November, and they're hungry for a win - or even just points. Edmonton is 0-9-1 versus the Western Conference so far this season.
The New York Islanders continue their western road trip tonight with a stop in Los Angeles to face the Kings, still searching for their first regulation win after the last 11 games played.
The Islanders will still be without Evgeni Nabokov tonight, as Kevin Poulin is slated to start between the pipes. At the other end of the ice will likely be Ben Scrivens, who has taken over for Jonathan Quick after he went down due to injury. Scrivens has played exceptionally well, helping keep his team in the top three of the Pacific Division and 5th in the Western Conference.
The Blackhawks (20-5-4) were only able to enjoy the confines of the United Center for one game, a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Dallas, before packing up and hiting the road again. The Hawks travel to Minnesota to face the Wild (16-8-5), a team that has dropped three of their last four games after an otherwise impressive November.
The secret to the Wild's success lies largely in goaltender Josh Harding, who has put up outstanding numbers with a league-leading 1.45 GAA, and his stellar SV % of .939 trails only King's goalie Ben Scrivens. Minnesota currently sits in the first wild card position in the Western conference with 37 points, and a win could catapault them in...
For the New York Islanders, home hasn't been very sweet. One of the National Hockey League's "road warriors" with a record of six wins three losses and one overtime loss, the Isles are conversely one of the league's worst home teams. How bad? 2-8-0 bad. The worst home start in franchise history kind of bad.
Six times the Flyers attempted to get their record back to .500 and six times they have failed so far this season.
At 9-11-1, you have to start to wonder why that has been the case. It happened again last night when the Flyers dropped a home game 4-2 to the Maple Leafs, playing flat for the first 50 minutes of the game.
Is it mental? Are they snake-bitten? Or is this all just one big coincidence? Regardless, the Flyers need to earn every point they can get their hands on because this is a shortened season and every point matters just a little bit more if a team wants to make the playoffs.
(Pictured: Ilya Bryzgalov cannot stop a rebound shot by Mikhail Grabovski in the third period. Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Getting to .500 has been an uphill battle for the Flyers and it continued on Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
An absolute sluggish outing until the final half of the third period cost the Flyers a chance to even up in the standings and get some much-needed points. And though the Leafs were almost equally as sluggish, they came out with the 4-2 win in Philadelphia.
Perhaps the Flyers are pressing to get to .500, but whatever it is, the effort was poor once again. Head coach Peter Laviolette didn't think they were pressing though.
(Pictured: Jakub Voracek battles with Toronto's Cody Franson in front of goalie Ben Scrivens. Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
Former Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk returns to Philadelphia for the first time since being traded this off season for Luke Schenn. He already has a goal against his former team back in Toronto and he is looking for more.