Chicago had a weekend to forget. Between the news that Derrick Rose will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his right knee and the Bears missing their opportunity to take sole possession of first place after a loss to the Rams, Chicago sports fans must be hankering for some good news.
As snow beings to fall on Chicago today, good news does as well. The Blackhawks have the second best point total in the league and are coming off perhaps their best all around performance of the season against rivals Vancouver Canucks.
The Hawks edged out the Canucks 2-1 late Saturday night, improving their record on the circus trip to 2-1. Thanks to two goals being scored nine seconds apart from Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger and solid goal tending from Corey Crawford, the Hawks overcame the Canucks attempt to stifle their offense and maintain their position atop the Central Division.
The Hawks visit the Edmonton Oilers tonight and will try to extend their winning streak to three games. With playoff expectations at the beginning of the season, the Oilers have been a disappointment thus far sitting in last place in the Western Conference with 16 points. With a suspect defense and poor goaltending, the Oilers rank 30th in goals against giving up 3.46 goals per game.
The Blackhawks lead the NHL averaging 3.50 goals per game and in goals scored with 84. It’s reasonable to believe that the Blackhawks will dominate the Oilers tonight with goals coming in bunches. However, recent history has shown that despite being one of the worst teams in the league, the Oilers have given the Hawks trouble. The Hawks took the only matchup between the two teams this year by a score of 5-4. The Oilers are one of the few teams that can match the Hawks speed, resulting in high scoring games. One has to go back to February, 2012 when the Oilers throttled the Blackhawks 9-2 with Sam Gagner tying the single game points record with 8 points (4G, 4A).
Marian Hossa will miss his second straight game tonight after flying back to Chicago to attend to family issues. Center Michal Handzus was activated off Injured Reserve prior to the Canucks game this past Saturday and could get back into the lineup for the first time in 14 games tonight.
The Blackhawks have certainly made noise in the Chicago sports scene with two Stanley Cup’s in the past four seasons. They usually take a backseat during the Bears season and have to compete for media attention with the Bulls as well. With a bad weekend for both the Bears and the Bulls, now is the perfect time to revive your faith in Chicago sports by turning your attention to the Blackhawks.
Carrying much of the momentum from their Stanley Cup run last season with them, tonight will be a good time to start paying attention to the Hawks as they traditionally have had fast paced, high scoring affairs with the Edmonton Oilers. Puck drop is at 8:30 PM tonight with Comcast Sports Net taking the television duties and WGN Radio 720-AM with the radio call.