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Oilers focused on limiting Blackhawks' Kane, Panarin

by Derek Van Diest

BLACKHAWKS (10-7-1) at OILERS (6-12-0)


EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers are expecting a tough challenge from the Chicago Blackhawks at Rexall Place on Wednesday, particularly the tandem of right wing Patrick Kane and rookie left wing Artemi Panarin.

Kane and Panarin have combined for 19 goals and 46 points this season for Chicago, accounting for over 37 percent of its scoring.

Kane has scored a goal in his past seven games and is on a 13-game point streak.

"It looks like they have two Patrick Kanes on one line now," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "It makes it that much more difficult for the rest of the League."

Kane leads the NHL in scoring with 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points. Panarin leads all rookies in scoring with six goals and 18 points in 18 games.

"He's a very skilled player," Kane said of Panarin. "For the people that don't get to see him very much, they're going to be entertained when they watch him play. He's got great hands, a great shot, he can turn on a dime and lose his defender very easily. Sometimes he kind of mesmerizes defenders the way he can go back and forth. He's one of the best players I've ever seen as far as being on your [skate] edges and cutting back and forth."

Panarin scored two goals and had one assist in a 4-2 win against Edmonton on Nov. 8. Kane had one goal and three assists in the win.

After getting off to a slow start, the Oilers outshot the Blackhawks 22-6 in the second period and 36-28 in total.

"I thought we did some adjustments between the first and second period, which allowed us to play a little cleaner and a little faster [in that game]," McLellan said. "They're a quick team, they're a smart team, they anticipate where pucks are going. They have good sticks and they can pick passes off and when you're not moving fast and you're not executing well, they become even more effective, and we had to clean a few things up. I'd like to think that we can see that again tonight."

Edmonton is on a two-game losing streak and has lost four of its past five. Chicago is on a two-game winning streak and starting a season-long, six-game road trip in Edmonton.

"They're a really good team," Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse said. "We played pretty well against them in Chicago, but we didn't put in a full 60-minute effort and that's something we're going to have to do tonight. They're obviously a skilled, fast team, but you can't respect them too much. You have to try to be as tight as possible and as physical as possible against them and try to shut them down early."

The Oilers are still without rookie center Connor McDavid, who fractured his clavicle against the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 3. The first pick in the 2015 NHL Draft is expected to be out months.

But even without McDavid in the lineup, the Blackhawks are leery of the Oilers.

"They are getting better and better as far as their complete game goes," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "Their offense is always going to be there, they have guys that love to make plays and can play at high speed. If you give them chances on the power play, they're going to make you pay; those are things we want to be aware off."

Goaltender Anders Nilsson will start for Edmonton; Corey Crawford will start in goal for Chicago.

Here are the projected lineups:


Marko Dano - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane

Teuvo Teravainen - Marcus Kruger - Andrew Shaw

Brandon Mashinter - Tanner Kero - Ryan Garbutt

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Trevor van Riemsdyk - Brent Seabrook

Trevor Daley - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Injured: None

Scratched: David Rundblad, Andrew Desjardins, Viktor Tikhonov


Taylor HallLeon DraisaitlTeddy Purcell

Benoit PouliotRyan Nugent-HopkinsJordan Eberle

Matt HendricksMark LetestuNail Yakupov

Lauri KorpikoskiAnton Lander - Iiro Pakarinen

Darnell Nurse - Andrej Sekera

Oscar KlefbomMark Fayne

Brandon DavidsonEric Gryba

Injured: Connor McDavid (collarbone), Justin Schultz (back), Rob Klinkhammer (leg), Luke Gazdic (illness)

Scratched: Griffin Reinhart, Andrew Miller, Andrew Ference

Status report: Korpikoski will return to the Oilers lineup after missing the past eight games with concussion symptoms that resulted from a hit against the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 27. … Nugent-Hopkins returns after sitting out a 4-3 loss at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday with the flu.

Who's hot: Kane has 10 goals and 22 points on his point streak. … Panarin is on a five-game point streak. … Hall has two goals and two assists in his past three games.

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