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Blackhawks-Oilers Preview @NHL
Blackhawks-Oilers Preview

GAME: Chicago Blackhawks (8-11-0) at Edmonton Oilers (11-9-1).

TIME: Saturday, 10 p.m. EST.

With Eric Daze and Tuomo Ruutu sidelined by injuries, Mark Bell continues to emerge as the offensive star the Chicago Blackhawks need.

Bell and the Blackhawks continue their five-game West Coast trip when they visit Rexall Place to take on the Edmonton Oilers.

Chicago has won four of its last five games, but is just 1-7-1 in its last nine in Edmonton.

Bell, the eighth overall pick by Chicago in the 1998 draft, scored twice for his second straight multi-goal effort during Chicago's 5-2 win Friday over Calgary, snapping the Flames' eight-game winning streak.

Bell has scored five goals in four games after a 14-game drought. His other two-goal game this season came Sunday in a 3-1 victory against the Oilers.

"I've turned the corner," Bell said. "I'm playing back at center now where I feel comfortable, I'm winning more faceoffs, and getting some more chances as a result."

Bell was tied with Kyle Calder for third on the team with 21 goals in 2003-04.

Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin is also enjoying a resurgence. After starting the season with just three wins in 12 games, Khabibulin has started playing like the netminder who helped lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup in 2004.

In his last five outings, Khabibulin is 4-1 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .935 save percentage.

The Oilers began their three-game homestand Thursday in exciting fashion. Jarret Stoll scored the game-winning goal 33 seconds into overtime to give the Oilers a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

"It's great for the fans," Stoll said. "This is back like it was in the 80s."

Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff tied a team record with four assists in the third period. Wayne Gretzky had four assists in one period during Edmonton's 6-0 victory March 7, 1988, over the Winnipeg Jets.

Horcoff has eight assists in his last five games. He needs eight more assists to equal the 25 he recorded in 80 games during the 2003-04 campaign.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 18): Blackhawks - 16 points, 3rd place, 16 PB, Central Division. Oilers - 23 points, 4th place, 3 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blackhawks - Bell, Pavel Vorobiev, 6 goals; Tyler Arnason, 10 assists; Vorobiev and Arnason, 15 points; Matthew Barnaby, 49 PIM. Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 11 goals; Horcoff and Ales Hemsky, 17 assists and 21 points; Ethan Moreau, 41 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 18): Blackhawks - Power play: 14 percent (17 for 121), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.2 percent (126 for 157), 24th. Oilers - Power play: 18.4 percent (24 for 130), 15th. Penalty killing: 81.4 percent (105 for 129), 17th.

GOALTENDERS: Blackhawks - Khabibulin (7-10-0, 0 SO, 3.43 GAA); Craig Anderson (1-1-0, 0, 5.12). Oilers - Jussi Markkanen (9-8-1, 0, 2.89); Mike Morrison (1-0-0, 0, 1.54).

SEASON SERIES: Blackhawks, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 13; Blackhawks, 3-1. At Chicago, Bell scored twice in the first period as the Blackhawks won for the third time in four games.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blackhawks - 4-7-0 on the road; Oilers - 4-2-1 at home.

Associated Press
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