Oilers vs. Blackhawks Preview
Chicago, IL - The Edmonton Oilers are in last place of the Western Conference with eight points this season, but they are likely feeling good about the first stop of their five-game road trip.
The Oilers (3-6-2) return to Chicago, the site of their lone win in nine games, to play the Blackhawks on Sunday night.
Oddsmakers from online sports book BroburySports.com have made the Blackhawks –230 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Oilers. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 67% of more than 635 bets for this game have been placed on the Blackhawks -230.
Edmonton handed Chicago its worst loss of the season Oct. 29, a 7-4 victory at the United Center as rookies Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle both contributed a goal and an assist.
Eberle was happy to pick up the victory and told the team's official website that he remains optimistic despite the team's poor start.
"We had one game of success in Chicago," said Eberle, who is tied for the team lead with four goals. "That's obviously going to help us, and we need to go on with the expectation of doing well and coming together.
"You have to move past that stuff. You got to try and find the things you did wrong and improve on them, and find the things you did right. You can't look in the past; we have to look forward."
The Oilers lost to Detroit 3-1 on Friday night as Nikolai Khabibulin made 27 saves and fell to 3-6-1. Khabibulin, who spent four years with Chicago, is 13-7-0 with one tie and a 2.33 goals-against average versus his former team, and likely to start Sunday.
Edmonton hasn't won consecutive games in Chicago since the 2003-04 season, and Eberle knows the Oilers are likely to face a fired-up Blackhawks squad.
"Anytime you get beat by a team, you want to make redemption," he said. "For us we're going to go in with the same game plan and try to come out on top."
After losing two in a row, the Blackhawks will look to carry over their momentum from Saturday night's 5-4 shootout win over Atlanta.
Jonathan Toews, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the playoff MVP last season, had two goals and two assists for the first four-point effort of his career.
"We wanted to stay above .500," said Toews. "We need to get out of the hole we dug for ourselves. It's important to win every game. We don't want to take a step back."
Patrick Kane also contributed two goals and an assist, and coach Joel Quenneville was pleased to see his go-to-guys step up.
"It was a good response from the leadership, and it was nice to see them produce,'' Quenneville said. "At the same time, I thought (the leaders) were committed to the team and doing what they need to be successful."
Marty Turco stopped 33 shots against the Thrashers as he improved to 7-4-1 this season. Turco is 18-6-2 lifetime against Edmonton, but allowed four first-period goals in the last meeting.
Corey Crawford allowed two goals in the final two periods, and Edmonton added an empty-netter as Chicago gave up seven goals for the first time since an 8-3 defeat at Columbus on March 25."For most of the game, we played in their end," Kane said after the previous meeting. "A couple bounces here and there, you never want to give up seven goals."