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Blackhawks-Oilers Preview @NHLdotcom
Blackhawks-Oilers Preview

GAME: Chicago Blackhawks (13-21-4) at Edmonton Oilers (22-14-4).

TIME: Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST.

The struggling Chicago Blackhawks will try to end a seven-game losing streak when they visit the Edmonton Oilers.

Chicago has dropped nine of its last 10 games overall to fall 25 points behind the Central Division-leading Detroit Red Wings.

Jim Vandermeer and Kyle Calder each scored in the Blackhawks' 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday. Chicago held a 37-21 edge in shots but ran into a strong goaltender in Miikka Kiprusoff.

"We played hard and we had enough chances to score tonight, but we have to eliminate leaving our goalie high and dry," Blackhawks center Mark Bell said.

Chicago netminder Craig Anderson dropped to 2-4-1 after losing his second straight start with No. 1 goalie Nikolai Khabibulin sidelined by a groin injury.

"We're generating chances, but we don't have the guys that are going to skate from end to end and go around guys and score goals, that's just the way it is," Bell said. "We have to get the puck in deep and get some pucks to the net and get some ugly goals."

The Blackhawks lost their seventh straight despite the return of left wing Tuomo Ruutu, sidelined since Nov. 1 with an injured back, and the debut of right wing Radim Vrbata, acquired Friday in a trade with Carolina.

Ruutu played on a line with center Tyler Arnason and winger Martin Lapointe while Vrbata skated with Calder and Bell. Vrbata had been a healthy scratch his final 11 games with Carolina.

Edmonton has lost three of its last four, and is coming off a 6-5 loss to Calgary on Sunday.

Kristian Huselius fired a shot that caromed off Oilers defensemen Marc-Andre Bergeron and Chris Pronger and bounced behind stunned goalie Jussi Markkanen with 1:15 left for the deciding tally.

Raffi Torres, Bergeron, Jarret Stoll, Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky scored for Edmonton, and Pronger had three assists.

"Anytime you score five goals, I don't care where you're playing, it should be enough to win a game by two or three," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said.

STANDINGS (through Jan. 2): Blackhawks - 30 points, 3rd place, 25 PB, Central Division. Oilers - 48 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blackhawks - Bell, 15 goals; Arnason, 20 assists and 30 points; Matthew Barnaby and Todd Simpson, 97 PIM. Oilers - Smyth, 17 goals; Shawn Horcoff, 31 assists; Stoll and Horcoff, 40 points; Ethan Moreau, 55 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 2): Blackhawks - Power play: 13.6 percent (30 for 221), tied for 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.5 percent (246 for 291), 8th. Oilers - Power play: 19.4 percent (49 for 252), 7th. Penalty killing: 82.3 percent (205 for 249), 14th.

GOALTENDERS: Blackhawks - Khabibulin (11-17-3, 0 SO, 3.34 GAA); Anderson (2-4-1, 0, 3.72). Oilers - Markkanen (13-10-3, 0, 3.16); Mike Morrison (5-1-0, 0, 2.35).

SEASON SERIES: Blackhawks, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 19; Blackhawks, 4-3. At Edmonton, Rene Bourque scored twice and Anderson made 33 saves to help Chicago beat the Oilers. Hemsky, Stoll and Marty Reasoner scored for Edmonton.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blackhawks - 6-13-3 on the road; Oilers - 10-6-2 at home.

Associated Press
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