With their bye week coming up, the Chicago Blackhawks will be looking to finish their road trip off with a bang as they battle the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.
The Blackhawks, who will be off for a week after Saturday’s game, got off to a rocky start on their current road trip when they fell to the San Jose Sharks, but it’s been smooth sailing since then as they’ve reeled off four consecutive victories, including three straight against Central Division opponents.
Perhaps more noteworthy than the fact that the team has been winning has been the meaning behind those victories. Sure, wins against lowly teams like the Arizona Coyotes are to be expected, but Wednesday’s win over Minnesota was Chicago’s first in their last seven games against the Wild, and Friday’s win over Winnipeg was the Blackhawks’ first over the Jets this season.
Coming off those kinds of momentum-building wins, the Blackhawks will be looking to continue their revenge tour against an Edmonton team that embarrassed them the last time they were in Alberta. In that game, which took place during the Blackhawks’ circus trip in November, the Oilers absolutely pounded the Blackhawks in every area of the ice, racking up an impressive 5-0 victory in the process.
This time around, the Blackhawks will look to take advantage of an Edmonton squad that is one of the streakiest teams in the league. The Oilers did win their last time out, picking up a 1-0 shootout win over Montreal last Sunday, but they had lost three straight games prior to that, including two against Central Division foes in Minnesota and Nashville.
Even with those defeats, the Oilers are still an incredibly dangerous team that is positively loaded with offensive talent. Leon Draisaitl already has 20 goals so far this season, and wunderkind Connor McDavid is one of the league’s best players, with 60 points to his credit on the campaign.
Edmonton’s defense is pretty good too, as they’re currently ranked seventh in the NHL as they’ve allowed 2.5 goals per game so far this year.
Those traits will make Edmonton difficult to deal with, and the Blackhawks will have their hands full as they play their third game in four nights. Fortunately, the Blackhawks have been getting good production out of multiple scoring lines recently, as players like Jonathan Toews and Ryan Hartman have been starting to hit their stride.
Add to that the fact that Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane both had big nights on Friday, and it would seem that the Blackhawks are starting to click on all cylinders after going through a prolonged period of poor play before the All-Star break.
Scott Darling will start in net for the Blackhawks as they look for their fifth straight win. Puck drop is scheduled for 9 p.m., and the game can be seen on WGN.