The biggest problem for the Blackhawks this season has been holding on to early leads. This time, goalie Nikolai Khabibulin made sure that wasn't a problem.
The beleaguered keeper made 23 saves in recording his first shut-out of the season, a 3-0 victory over the Oilers Wednesday night at the United Center.
The Blackhawks got on the board early against Edmonton, with Patrick Sharp tallying his team-leading 5th goal of the season just 2:36 into the first period.
"Our power play has been pretty good the last couple of games," Sharp told the Chicago Tribune after the game. "It was great to score the three goals and, of course, Nik was standing on his head all night long."
After an 0-2 start, the Blackhawks have picked up points in each of their last five games with three wins and two overtime losses. Perhaps most importantly, the decision to rotate high-priced goaltenders Khabibulin and Cristobal Huet seems to be paying dividends.
''It's tough when you don't know who to put in the net, but both are proven No. 1 goalies,'' Head Coach Joel Quenneville commented. ''Both are coming off strong outings. As the season goes on, one guy might get the bulk of the games, but right now there's no need for that. Right now it's a luxury to have two good goaltenders.''
Quenneville says he won't announce his starting goaltender for Saturday's clash with division-rival Detroit until Friday.