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With streak over, Blackhawks set to host Oilers

by Brian Compton

OILERS (8-11-5) at BLACKHAWKS (21-1-3)


Last 10: Edmonton 2-6-2; Chicago 9-1-0.

Season series: This is the second of three meetings. The Blackhawks earned a 3-2 overtime victory against the Oilers on Feb. 25 at the United Center.

Big story: Chicago’s historic point streak came to an end Friday night, when it suffered a 6-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. The Blackhawks had opened the 2012-13 season having played 24 consecutive games without a regulation loss (21-0-3). Only the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens (28 games) and the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers (35 games) played more consecutive games in one season without a regulation loss.

"I talked to them after the game that they should be very proud of what they accomplished," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They found different ways to win, night in and night out, and everyone contributed to something that hadn't been done. It's a great feather in our cap, but let's move forward here and try to get better. Certainly it was a lot of fun up to today.

"(The streak) gained a lot of momentum over the last little while, and our opponents, they treated it like it was a very important game. You look at the standings and everyone has a meaningful game, but it seemed like there was added incentive as we've gone along. We welcomed the challenge."

Team scope:

Oilers: When the puck drops Sunday night, nearly a week will have passed since Edmonton last scored a goal. The Oilers have been outscored 9-0 in the past two games after being blanked in Detroit and Nashville on Thursday and Friday, respectively. They are now 1-4-2 on this season-long nine-game road trip and find themselves at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Edmonton will be looking to avoid its first six-game losing streak in two years, when it lost 11 in a row from March 8-31, 2011.

"You just have to hate to lose that much and say, 'OK, this has really got to happen,'" Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger said. "I have a feeling, I mean, if this one doesn't do it, I don't know what will. This has got to knock us really off our feet and say, 'Enough is enough' and 'What are the elements that aren't fitting and what are we doing that's not enough?'”

Blackhawks: Eventually, Chicago was going to lose a game in regulation. It was just a matter of when.

It happened Friday, as Corey Crawford was pulled after allowing five goals on 19 shots in a 6-2 loss to the Avalanche. The defeat snapped Chicago’s 11-game win streak as it suffered it first regulation loss since March 25, 2012. The Blackhawks had gone 14-0-4 on the road over that span.

“I'd say the last handful of games the talk about it kind of got out of control," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We always focused on the same thing, being prepared to play our team game. We never really got distracted by that.

"Maybe it does take a little bit of pressure off us and we can sit back and look at the good things we've done."

Who’s hot: Toews has four goals and three assists in the past six games, while goaltender Ray Emery is 10-0-0 with a 2.05 goals-against average.

Injury report: Oilers forward Ales Hemsky is questionable with a foot injury. He did not play Friday. Meanwhile, goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin (groin), defensemen Mark Fistric (elbow) and Andy Sutton (knee) and forwards Shawn Horcoff (hand), Teemu Hartikainen (shoulder) and Anton Lander (foot) are on injured reserve. … Blackhawks defenseman Steve Montador (concussion) is questionable.

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