Edmonton Oilers (1-4-0-0 SU, 1-4 PL, 3-2 O/U) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (4-1-1-0 SU, 4-2 PL, 4-2 O/U)
NHL: Thursday, October 19, 2017, United Center, Chicago, Illinois, 8:30 pm ET
Lines: Chicago -125, Edmonton +105; Over/Under: 5.5
A pair of Western Conference teams expected to make runs in the postseason meet in the Windy City on the ice. The Edmonton Oilers look to get off the skids as they visit the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night. Edmonton lost their fourth straight with a 5-3 defeat at home to Carolina Tuesday night. Chicago was in action Wednesday on the road as they faced the Blues in a Central Division clash. The Oilers took two of three meetings last season, including a 3-1 win here in the most recent matchup on February 18.
Edmonton Oilers Struggling in Early Going
Edmonton has struggled to start the year as they’ve lost four straight games after winning their season opener against the Flames. The Oilers are one of five teams left in the league with one win: they’d be in the basement of the Pacific Division if not for Arizona being the lone team with no victories. The Oilers are 28th in the league in scoring as they average 2.2 goals per game. Edmonton is 26th in the league as they allow 3.8 goals per game. The Oilers are 22nd in the league in power play percentage as they convert 15.8 percent of their chances with the man advantage. Edmonton is 31st, or dead last, in penalty killing as they kill off a paltry 68.2 percent of their shorthanded situations.
Special teams proved to be the bane of Edmonton’s existence again Tuesday: that, coupled with a slow start, sent them to a fourth straight loss. The Oilers outshot Carolina 15-8 in the opening period but they were down 3-0 after 20 minutes and that told the tale. In the second period, Edmonton had a 21-7 bulge in shots but came away with just one goal to cut the deficit to 3-1. Mark Letestu scored on the power play at 17:11, his first of the year, with assists from Kailer Yamamoto and Connor McDavid. That 3-1 score was where things stood after 40 minutes. In the third period, Edmonton held a 15-6 advantage in shots but both teams scored twice. After falling behind 4-1 on a shorthanded goal, the Oilers made it 4-2 on a power play goal by Ryan Strome, his first of the year, at 5:03 off assists from Jussi Jokinen and Kris Russell. Just over three minutes later, at 8:06, Milan Lucic got his first of the year off assists from Strome and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to make it a 4-3 contest. That was all the Oilers would muster: they gave up a goal less than three minutes later to restore Carolina’s two goal lead and that told the tale. Despite a 51-21 edge in shots, the Oilers took the loss as they gave up two power play goals and a shorthanded tally. Laurent Brossoit took the loss with 16 saves.
Chicago Blackhawks Playing Second Game of Back to Back
Chicago was in action on the road against the Blues in a Central Division tilt Wednesday night. The Blackhawks look to pick up a win on home ice over a potential playoff rival if things play out as expected. Chicago is 3rd in the league in scoring as they average 4.2 goals per game. The Blackhawks are 3rd in the league in goals against as they allow 2.2 goals per game. Chicago is 23rd in the league on the power play as they light the lamp on 14.8 percent of their chances with the man advantage. The Blackhawks are 9th in penalty killing as they successfully kill off 82.6 percent of their shorthanded situations.
In their most recent action before the clash with the Blues, the Blackhawks escaped with a 2-1 overtime win over a fellow Central Division foe in the Predators Saturday night at home. Chicago was outshot 18-11 in the opening period against the Predators but the teams skated off after 20 minutes scoreless. The second period saw the Blackhawks outshot by a 12-8 margin and they trailed 1-0 after 40 minutes after allowing a power play marker. In the third period, Chicago reversed the numbers by outshooting the Predators 12-8 and scored the period’s lone goal. Patrick Sharp tied the game with his second of the season at 14:24 of the period on assists from John Hayden and Cody Franson. The teams failed to score the rest of the way and the game went to overtime. In the extra session, Chicago had a 4-0 edge in shots and bagged the winner: Brandon Saad’s sixth of the season at 3:46 off assists from Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith made the difference in the game. Chicago was outshot 38-35 in the contest: Corey Crawford made 37 saves in the win.
- Oilers are 0-4 in their last 4 overall
- Blackhawks are 60-17 in their last 77 vs. a team with a winning % below .400
- Blackhawks are 40-13 in their last 53 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400
Edmonton is struggling to put the puck in the net and clearly the team has missed Leon Draisaitl in the mix as he is on injured reserve. The Oilers can’t rely only on McDavid, as tremendous a talent as he is if they hope to have a chance at the Stanley Cup. Chicago is playing their second game of a back to back here and as a result, you don’t know who will be in net for the Blackhawks. The team has plenty of depth and talent to work with and their experience carries them to a victory in this contest.