GAME: Edmonton Oilers (14-17-7-0) at Chicago Blackhawks (10-19-7-4).
TIME: Sunday, 7 p.m. EST.
The Chicago Blackhawks are developing a knack for beating the league's top
Chicago now would like to start taking care of some of the NHL's worst,
starting with a matchup against the Edmonton Oilers.
Steve Passmore earned his first win of the season with 31 saves and Igor
Korolev snapped a tie with 7:13 left in regulation, lifting Chicago to a 2-1
victory over San Jose on Friday.
Although the Blackhawks are 14th in the Western Conference, they have at
least one point in five of the last seven games (3-2-1-1). Those three wins
have been against St. Louis and Detroit -- two of the league's best teams -- and
San Jose -- the Pacific Divison leader.
Chicago's only two regulation losses in that seven-game span came against
Pittsburgh and Columbus, owners of the worst records in the Eastern and Western
Conference, respectively. The Blackhawks play their next two games against the
bottom teams in the Northwest Division -- Edmonton and Minnesota.
Passmore has played very well since being recalled from the minors, allowing
six goals in four games.
"You never know what's going to happen," Passmore said. "I'm glad to come
up, chip in and help out."
Chicago has been helped lately by the return of two key players.
Captain and top center Alex Zhamnov returned Wednesday in a 4-3 overtime
loss to Vancouver after missing 35 games due to back surgery. Defenseman Bryan
Berard was back in the lineup Friday after missing 10 games with a groin
Still on the Blackhawks' injured list are starting goalie Jocelyn Thibault,
left wing Eric Daze and defensemen Steve McCarthy and Alexander Karpovtsev.
Last-place Edmonton opened a six-game road trip Friday with a 2-1 victory
Ryan Smyth scored a short-handed goal midway through the second period and
Tommy Salo stopped 24 shots, helping the Oilers to their second win in eight
Smyth is serving as team captain in place of defenseman Jason Smith, who
injured his left ankle Tuesday against Minnesota and is expected to miss at
least two weeks.
"Obviously it's quite an honor," Smyth said. "The guys really respect
Jason and I'm wearing (the captain's 'C') for him."
Since allowing three goals in each of his first three starts following a
one-month absence due to a hip injury, Salo has surrendered just nine goals in
his past five games.