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Oilers putting rough road trip behind them

by Robin Brownlee
EDMONTON -- After winning just once and being outscored 26-10 on a five-game road trip, the Edmonton Oilers are looking to snap a four-game winless streak when they face the Chicago Blackhawks at Rexall Place on Wednesday.

The Oilers started their trip with a 2-1 win in Chicago on Nov. 7, then dropped the next four, including a 7-1 drubbing in Carolina and an 8-2 loss to the New York Rangers.

"We can use a big one," captain Shawn Horcoff said. "You don't have a choice. You have to put those games behind you. It wasn't just one. There were three or four (games) that were not acceptable."

While the Oilers have talked about putting the road trip in the rear-view mirror since getting home Sunday, the best way to do it, and regain some confidence, is with a third straight win this season against Chicago. They also beat the Hawks 7-4 in Chicago on Oct. 29.

"It's good to be home," Horcoff said. "We want to come out with a good effort in the first period, get the fans behind us again and get moving forward."

Quick strike artists -- The Oilers struck quickly in their 7-4 win at the United Center on Oct. 29, and again in the 2-1 decision in Chicago on Nov. 7.

In the first meeting, Sam Gagner, Ales Hemsky and Jordan Eberle scored in a span of 1:09 late in the first period to break open a 1-1 game. The last time out, the Oilers overcame a 1-0 deficit with goals by Kurtis Foster and Gagner 14 seconds apart in the third period.

Around the rink -- Ladislav Smid suffered a concussion when he was punched by Sean Avery in New York last Sunday and has been placed on injured reserve. ... The Oilers have recalled defenseman Shawn Belle and forward Jean-Francois Jacques from Oklahoma City of the AHL and both will play Wednesday. ... Chicago has the third-ranked power play in the NHL (25.8 percent), while the Oilers have the 30th-ranked penalty killing (67.6). However, the Blackhawks are just 2-for-8 against Edmonton with the man-advantage in their first two games. ... The Oilers have lost four straight games at Rexall Place. Chicago, which opens a six-game road trip tonight with the Barnum and Bailey Circus having taken over the United Center, has won its last four games in Edmonton and has outscored the Oilers 21-7 in that span. Before the two losses this season, the Blackhawks were on a 7-0-1 streak against the Oilers.
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