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At the Rink: Blackhawks at Oilers

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- The Chicago Blackhawks know better than to underestimate the Edmonton Oilers.

Despite being on a two-game win streak, having won four of their past five, and winning the previous four encounters against Edmonton, the Blackhawks still remember the beatings of the yesteryear.

So going into their game Saturday against the Oilers, the Blackhawks are treading cautiously, even with Edmonton on a five-game losing streak.

"We know there is never a moment we can take for granted against these guys," Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews said. "We can't go by where teams are in the standings, regardless whether it's Edmonton or any other team that we might be ahead of, we're going to be for a tough one. I don't think we've forgotten what happened here several years ago, multiple times. We'll remind ourselves of that to make sure we're prepared to check well and not give them too much offense, unearned in our own zone."

In the 2011-12 season, the Blackhawks lost in Edmonton, 9-2 and 8-4. Time has passed, but the wounds of those lopsided losses have not completely healed.

"We had some real tough games in here not that long ago and they have a lot of the same personnel over there," Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said. "They lit us up a couple of nights. We've had some tough nights in here, so I think we're respectful for what they can do, I think they get excited when they play us. We don't want to get in a wide open type of game, which enhances their game. We certain feel like we have to play the right way, because we feel we're playing against a real, dangerous team tonight."

The Oilers go into the game still looking for their first win against a Western Conference opponent (0-9-1). They have lost their past five games and nine of their previous 11.

Saturday morning, the Oilers held a lengthy team meeting on the ice following a brief morning skate.

"There has been a lot of talk, not just from me but from the players, about change and what are we going to hang our hat on as a team? And that change has to come from within that room," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "I don't care what team you go play for or who is leading the group, all teams are talking about the same things, it's managing the puck, not giving up odd-man rushes, watching turnovers, getting to the net, reloading hard, protecting the red zone. It's the same message everywhere, and the groups and the teams willing to change and play that way get rewarded. And if you cannot break your addiction of playing a certain way, then we're going to have big problems."

The Oilers lost 2-0 to the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

Edmonton will be without left wing Benoit Pouliot, who broke his foot blocking a shot against New Jersey. Pouliot is expected to be out 5-6 weeks.

Goaltender Ben Scrivens will start for Edmonton; Antti Raanta will start in goal for Chicago.

Here are the projected lineups:


Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa

Kris VersteegBrad RichardsPatrick Kane

Bryan BickellPhillip DanaultDaniel Carcillo

Joakim NordstromMarcus KrugerBen Smith

Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook

Johnny OduyaNiklas Hjalmarsson

Michal RozsivalAdam Clendening

Antti Raanta

Corey Crawford

Scratched: David Rundblad, Jeremy Morin

Injured: Patrick Sharp (knee), Trevor Van Riemsdyk (knee), Andrew Shaw (upper body)


David PerronRyan Nugent-HopkinsJordan Eberle

Taylor HallLeon DraisaitlTeddy Purcell

Jesse JoensuuMark ArcobelloNail Yakupov

Matt Hendricks - Boyd GordonSteven Pinizzotto

Keith AulieMark Fayne

Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry

Martin MarincinJustin Schultz

Ben Scrivens

Viktor Fasth

Scratched: Luke Gazdic, Nikita Nikitin

Injured: Benoit Pouliot (foot)

Status report: Danault will make his NHL debut Saturday after being called up from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League on Friday. Danault was Chicago's first-round pick (No. 26) in the 2011 NHL Draft. … Perron will move up to play on the Oilers top line for the first time this season. He led Edmonton with 28 goals last season. Nikitin will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season, replaced by Aulie.

Who's hot: Kane is on a three-game goal streak and has six points in that span. Seabrook has a goal in each of his past two games.

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