Analysis

Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks vs Oilers 10/14

By Ryan Fedrau
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 10: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates in the first period against the San Jose Sharks at the United Center on October 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 10: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates in the first period against the San Jose Sharks at the United Center on October 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks faceoff against the Edmonton Oilers at home.

After losing three straight games to kickoff the 2019-20 NHL season, the Chicago Blackhawks will host the Oilers tonight at 7:30 PM. If they want to snap the Oilers’ five-game winning streak, the Blackhawks will have to play a full 60 minutes.

It’s no secret the Chicago Blackhawks are struggling this season, mostly being defensive and goaltending issues. Corey Crawford will be the starting goalie going into tonight’s game against the red-hot Edmonton Oilers, but is that the right call?

The 5-0-0 Oilers have made goalies look foolish, even in their closest game against the New Jersey Devils where they tied it up late in the 3rd period, to win it in overtime 3-2. After winning three straight games on the road, what can we expect out of the Oilers?

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Connor McDavid is what to expect. McDavid has propelled his team that was nowhere near being a playoff team last season. The Oilers 5-0-0 start reminds me of the 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks when they started 21-0-3, which is far from five games, but it’s still something. The Oilers have come through in crunch time and won close games, and also, won games by three goals.

The Blackhawks haven’t had the same luck. They have lost all three of their games, all by one goal. The team has made games close, but after blowing a 2-0 lead against the Jets, the Blackhawks have a lot of work to do, especially in the 3rd period.

This game standings-wise shows the top of the Western Conference against the bottom of the Western Conference. It’s early, a lot can change, and a lot will. These next five games are very important for the Blackhawks and it starts tonight.

For the Blackhawks, they have to rely on Patrick Kane, who is their hottest player, also the team’s leader in points (4). He hasn’t shot the puck much at all this season — only six times— but he currently has sixth most on the team. If the Blackhawks want to win this game, they have to keep Kane shooting the puck more. He creates goals and they need goals if they want to beat the unbeaten Oilers.

Corey Crawford is going to be the most important player for the Chicago Blackhawks tonight. Normally, Kane is looked at as the impact player for this team. However, after Crawford’s cold start, it’s going to be up to him.

Crawford has given up nine goals this season against two teams that were winless when he played against them. There is no way around it, Crawford has to play one of his best games tonight if he wants to hand the Oilers their first loss.

The Oilers are the best team in hockey right now with the best player in the world, Connor McDavid. He has been their hottest player and their impact player this season. It really seems like no one has been “cold” this season, with most of their players stepping up each night helping this team remain unbeaten.

The interesting thing about this game will be how the Blackhawks plan to stop McDavid. No team has seemed to figure that out with him having a point each game, with two games ending in a McDavid game-winner.

My prediction for this game is a strong defensive game out of the Blackhawks as a whole. If they’re going to win this game against the Oilers, they are going to need to play strong on defense, not give up the big plays, and Crawford has to play great. If any of those things don’t happen, it’ll be a long night for the Blackhawks.

Hopefully, the home crowd will be loud enough to get the guys going and ready to get their first win of the season. These next five games are crucial if the Chicago Blackhawks want to turn things around.

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