BLACKHAWKS (34-6-5) at OILERS (17-21-7)
TV: TSN, CSN-CH
Last 10: Chicago 7-1-2; Edmonton (2-8-0)
Season series: The Edmonton Oilers are actually 1-0-1 against the Chicago Blackhawks this season, losing 3-2 in overtime on Feb. 25 and winning 6-5 in regulation on March 10.
Big story: The Blackhawks can move two points closer to clinching the Presidents' Trophy for the first time in 22 years with a victory against the slumping Oilers.
Blackhawks: When these two teams last met, Chicago allowed six goals for the second time in as many games, and after an incredible 24-game streak to start the season without a loss in regulation, there was the slightest bit of slippage for the Blackhawks. The loss was the second during a stretch of nine games where Chicago went 4-5-0 -- hardly a disastrous run but it would qualify as the 2012-13 Blackhawks' "dip in form."
Chicago started a new point streak the next game with a 7-1 beating of the rival Detroit Red WIngs, and the Blackhawks went 11 games without losing in regulation (9-0-2) before a 3-1 road loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. The Blackhawks could finish this season with 79 points (37-6-5) with three more victories. That would equate to a 134-point pace over an 82-game NHL season.
Oilers: April 3 will be remembered as the high-water mark of the 2012-13 season in Edmonton. The Oilers crushed the rival Calgary Flames 8-2 that day. It was the fifth straight victory, and the suddenly high-flying Oilers had 25 goals during the streak.
At that point, Edmonton had climbed to eighth place in the Western Conference, and a playoff berth after years of losing appeared plausible. All of that momentum is gone now, and with the team's hopes for this season. Edmonton has lost eight of nine since that huge win to plummet back towards the bottom of the NHL standings. They are now four points from the bottom of the West and 10 shy of eighth.
Who's hot: After going without a point for three straight games -- the first time that has happened this season -- Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has five points in his past four contests. … Edmonton's Jordan Eberle had gone six straight games without a point, but has rebounded with four in his past three contests.
Injury report: Patrick Sharp (shoulder) and Dave Bolland (groin) are both questionable for the Blackhawks. … Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder) and Ales Hemsky (foot) are out for the Oilers. Magnus Paajarvi (foot) and Theo Peckham (illness) are questionable.
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