|EDM||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||0|
|CHI||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
Considering the late surge the Edmonton Oilers put together to conclude last season, it shouldn't be too surprising that they're off to one of the best starts in the NHL thus far.
The unbeaten Oilers look for their fifth straight victory on Wednesday, when they kick off a three-game road trip against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Edmonton (4-0-0) went 14-5-1 over the final five weeks of 2007-08, but missed the playoffs for a second straight season as it finished tied for ninth in the Western Conference with Chicago (2-2-2) and Vancouver.
But despite failing to come away with a postseason berth, the Oilers carried their positive momentum into the new season as they've opened with four straight victories for the first time since starting 5-0-0 in 1985-86.
Ethan Moreau and Fernando Pisani each had a goal and an assist during a three-goal second period as the Oilers topped visiting Calgary 3-2 on Saturday.
Andrew Cogliano notched his second goal of the season, but indicated that 28-year-old rookie Steve MacIntyre's punishing hit and subsequent fight sparked the club's offensive barrage.
"That was a momentum turner for us," Cogliano said. "We were joking on the bench that we hadn't seen a hit like that in a long time. The guy that took that hit, we feel bad for him. And then he wins the fight right afterward. It was a big boost for the team and something we didn't have last year."
Edmonton is one of two remaining undefeated teams in the West along with Minnesota.
The Oilers will try to contain a Chicago team that has won two of its last three games.
It was the Blackhawks' first win under Joel Quenneville, who replaced the fired Denis Savard on Thursday and watched his team build a two-goal lead before an eventual 4-3 shootout loss in St. Louis two nights later.
"I liked the response," Quenneville said. "It was a real emotional loss for us (in St. Louis). There's a big picture that's very bright here.
"The skill level of our kids will get better and better. But as a coach, we're in a short-term business. We want to win hockey games."
Kane - the reigning Calder Trophy winner - appears to have benefited from Quenneville's presence, providing three goals and three assists since the coaching change.
He and Sharp - tied for the team lead with eight points apiece - converted two of the Blackhawks' five power-play chances after entering Sunday's game 2-for-22 with the man-advantage.
Goaltender Cristobal Huet made 28 saves Sunday for his first victory with Chicago, and has compiled a 2.03 goals-against average in splitting two games versus Edmonton.
Huet signed a four-year, $24.45 million free-agent contract on July 1, but continues to share the net with Nikolai Khabibulin, who is 5-1-2 with a 1.94 GAA in his last nine matchups against the Oilers.
Meanwhile, the Oilers' Mathieu Garon, who made 31 saves versus Calgary, is 6-2-0 with a 2.37 GAA in eight all-time games versus Chicago.
The Oilers went 3-1-0 in last season's series versus the Blackhawks, winning once in two tries at the United Center.
|Mar 20 '09||EDM 5 at CHI 4 - SO||P. O'Sullivan|
|Feb 03 '09||CHI 3 at EDM 1||D. Bolland|
|Dec 16 '08||CHI 9 at EDM 2||B. Campbell|
|Oct 22 '08||EDM 0 at CHI 3||P. Sharp|