Mired in their worst stretch of the season, the Chicago Blackhawks are trying to gain confidence anyway they can.
After earning a point in their last game, the Blackhawks look to avoid extending their season-high losing streak to five games Friday night while trying to sweep a season series from the visiting Edmonton Oilers.
Chicago (37-22-10) lost 4-3 in overtime at Columbus on Wednesday to fall to 3-7-2 since winning four in a row.
"Obviously, the way we've been playing, it's good to get a point," said Chicago's Patrick Kane, who had a goal with an assist against the Blue Jackets. "But you want to go in and win that game. So it's disappointing not to get two."An extra point could have helped Chicago, which fell out of fourth place - the last spot that carries home-ice advantage in the first round - in the Western Conference after Vancouver beat St. Louis 3-0 on Thursday to move ahead of the Blackhawks by one point.
Returning to the United Center would normally benefit the Blackhawks, who are 18-8-6 at home, but they have struggled there of late. Chicago has lost two in a row and three of its last four on home ice.
"The confidence is a little bit off," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We stemmed a little bit of the flow going against us. (But) we've got to (start) winning and feeling a little more confident at critical times of games."
Facing Edmonton (34-27-9) could give the Blackhawks some confidence heading into this contest.
Though the Oilers are seventh in the West, they've been outscored 15-3 in losing the previous three games to the Blackhawks. Chicago hasn't swept a series from the Oilers since 1994-95.
Kane has a goal and three assists against Edmonton this season.
Nikolai Khabibulin made 27 in a 3-2 loss at New Jersey on Tuesday and is likely to be in goal looking for a fourth straight victory over Edmonton. Khabibulin is 17-7-5 with a 2.45 goals-against average and 13-11-2 with a 2.61 GAA lifetime versus the Oilers.
He made 23 saves in a 3-0 home win over Edmonton on Oct. 22 for his only shutout of the season.
After losing three straight games in overtime and beating St. Louis 2-1 in a shootout on Tuesday, Edmonton routed Colorado 8-1 on Thursday.
Sam Gagner had three goals with an assist, and Ales Kotalik added a goal with three assists in the Oilers' highest-scoring game of the season.
"Obviously a pretty good feeling, especially when it comes in a win and we're fighting for points," said Gagner, who has four goals and four assists in his last five contests. "We've been on the wrong side of (a blowout), so it's a pretty good feeling."
One of those blowouts was a 9-2 defeat at home to Chicago on Dec. 16.
Dwayne Roloson made 26 saves in his franchise-record 26th straight start Thursday to improve to 25-17-9 with a 2.72 GAA. He could be in net versus the Blackhawks, against whom he is 10-7-0 with two ties and a 2.50 GAA.