Tonight, the Edmonton Oilers (3-1-1-) will face the Chicago Blackhawks (3-1-1) at 6:30 pm MT at the United Center in Chicago. Nikolai Khabibulin will face his old team at his former arena.
The Chicago Blackhawks have started the season relatively well despite some relatively poor goaltending in Huet. Both the Oilers and the Blackhawks have identical records coming into this game. Further, the stats comparison below is nearly a mirror image with the exception of the shot +/- and the faceoff %, both of which favor the Blackhawks.
Edmonton Oilers Projected Line-Up
Chicago Blackhawks Projected Line-Up
Post Game Analysis: [Later tonight]
Not much to say really… JFJ iced the puck about a foot from the center ice line which ended up leading to Chicago’s first goal (after a Strudwick give-away in our zone following the faceoff). After that, we were pretty much outplayed in every aspect of the game by what looked to be a far-better hockey team. We had a litany of turn-overs in our own end which is not surprisingly where we played most of the game. Half the game looked like Chicago was on a powerplay…
Nikolai Khabibulin played a great game, but the weakness of Strudwick and Chorney was quite evident throughout the game. Though the Final Score was 4-3, we were out-shot something like 20 shots…
One thing that was curious was the pairing of Smid/Chorney with the top line… Chorney seemed to get a lot of ice time and was out on at least one power play. He doesn’t look to have much of a shot from the point.
Penner played the best game of Oilers skaters tonight with a blocked shot, some decent play on the penalty kill, a goal and a helper, as well as some nice hits.
Hemsky continues on to be fairly invisible as with most of his early season play. Horcoff played a decent game, but gave the puck away in his zone a few times.
O’Sullivan and Comrie were both pretty ineffective for much of the game. Comrie in particular gave the puck away with regularity and had trouble clearing the zone. Jacques and Stone both looked out of place as well. Over the past few games, Stone’s physical play has declined (hard pace to maintain) and he doesn’t seem to do much else well. Is it time to bring Nilsson back?