Monday, February 25, 2013

Pre-Game: Game #18 Oilers vs. Black Hawks

The Oilers will be latest team to try and crack the undefeated streak the Black Hawks have going which stands at 18 games. The Black Hawks are currently 15-0-3 to start the season and are out of the gate like gangbusters. The Oilers, on the other hand, are taking solace in the small victories as they held off the Coyotes on Saturday afternoon to take a 3-2 shootout win. The Oilers currently sit with a 7-7-3 record, good enough for 12th in the conference. The NHL is setup in that when wins pileup the move up the standings is incremental, but when the losses pile up, its a freefall. The Oilers have been buying time with a win one, lose one, philosophy, which on paper is OK but in the standings, where it matters, has the Oilers on the outside looking in. The Oilers will have to try to find a way to make up ground as they start a nine game road trip. By the time the roadtrip is over, we could very well be talking about who the Oilers should be using on their first round pick for the upcoming NHL Draft. Taylor Hall will sit out his 2nd game of his two game suspensions. The Oilers survived the first game without him as they overcame a 2-0 defecit to get to a shootout and win it. The Black Hawks will serve a different challenge as they are offensively gifted and have been playing solid defense to start the season. Are the Oilers good enough to overcome their deficiencies and grab a playoff spot? I have my doubts, but as a team they continue to grow. A lot of this will depend on whether management want to fast forward the building process by finding well rounded, experienced players at the cost of some high profiled youth. I have a feeling this year is more about building and nuturing moreso than it is about playoffs.

Forwards Black Hawks
- Any team that boasts Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa will win this category more often than not. Oilers are without Taylor Hall for the 2nd game in a row.
Defense Black Hawks
- Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have been playing at a high level. Both sets defenses have been stingy this season. The Hawks a little moreso.
Goaltending Black Hawks
- It doesn't seem to matter who is in net. Crawford or Emery, the Hawks are getting great goaltending. Only Boston has given up less. Oilers goaltending has kept them in games this season.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Oilers are 4th on the PK and 7th on PK which means they must be subpar 5v5 to have a middling record. Black Hawks are no slouches in the special teams departments either.
Coaching Black Hawks
- Joel Quennville has the Hawks playing well all over the ice. Ralph Krueger is still trying to figure out what his line combos are going to be.
Intangibles Black Hawks
- This game is the 2nd half of a back to back for the Black Hawks while the Oilers start a nine game road trip. Black Hawks are still trying to keep their streak alive.




Black Hawks:



Game Time - 6:30 PM MT @ Chicago on Sportsnet West.

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