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Preview: Blackhawks at Oilers

Chicago seeks fifth straight win; Edmonton plays first game in six days

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (34-17-5) at OILERS (29-18-8)

10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, WGN, NHL.TV 

 

Blackhawks team scope

The Chicago Blackhawks look for their fifth straight win when they conclude a six-game road trip against the Edmonton Oilers. The Blackhawks trail the Minnesota Wild by five points for first place in the Central Division and will begin their five-day break on Sunday. "This puts us in a good spot, we have a little momentum going into the finish of this trip," coach Joel Quenneville told Blackhawks TV after a 5-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. Goaltender Scott Darling is expected to start after Corey Crawford made 28 saves on Friday. "[The Oilers are] playing the first game out of a break and they get us the first game out of a break, so it's tough to forecast it," Quenneville said. "One thing about our team is that you don't want to get ahead of yourself, you want to keep playing the same way with some momentum. They beat us pretty bad last time in there too [5-0 on Nov. 21]. Minnesota [a 4-3 win on Wednesday] was pretty important, [Winnipeg] was pretty important, we'll look at it the same way [Saturday] night."

 

Oilers team scope

Edmonton is playing its first game following their five-day break. Their last game was a 1-0 shootout win at the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 5, which ended a three-game losing streak. "It was nice to have some time off and I just tried to shut out hockey and not think about it," captain Connor McDavid said. "Obviously that's hard to do, but I tried to do it the best I can and just get away from it." The Oilers were defeated 5-2 against the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 31 following the all-star break, and was the first of their three straight losses. "For us to ease our way into it [against Chicago], I think we're going to find ourselves down a couple of goals," McDavid said. "We just have to figure out a way to overcome whatever hurt us last time coming out of a break. We just have to get on it early." Edmonton is two points behind the Anaheim Ducks for second place in the Pacific Division. "Our return to play after the [All-Star] break against Minnesota is well documented, we weren't very sharp," coach Todd McLellan said. "We were playing against a top team, and all the circumstances will be the same tonight. I expect us to have a better effort."

 

Blackhawks projected lineup

Nick Schmaltz -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Dennis Rasmussen -- Marcus Kruger -- Marian Hossa

Ryan Hartman -- Tanner Kero -- Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Michal Kempny -- Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Scott Darling

Corey Crawford

Scratched: Vinnie Hinostroza, Gustav Forsling, Andrew Desjardins

Injured: Michal Rozsival (lower body)

 

Oilers projected lineup

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot -- Drake Caggiula -- Anton Slepyshev

Anton Lander -- Mark Letestu -- Zack Kassian

Andrej Sekera -- Matthew Benning

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Brandon Davidson -- Jordan Oesterle

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Eric Gryba, Matt Hendricks

Injured: Darnell Nurse (foot), Tyler Pitlick (knee), Jujhar Khaira (upper body), Kris Russell (lower body)

 

Status report

Benning returns to the lineup after missing the game at Montreal with a head injury, which he sustained in the previous game at the Carolina Hurricanes … Russell will miss his second straight game… Talbot will make his seventh consecutive start.

 

Who's hot

Kane has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in his past 16 games. … Toews has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past four games. … McDavid has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past nine games.

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