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Oilers look to add to Blackhawks' woes

By Jeff Mezydlo

Stats Senior Writer

Edmonton (34-27-9) at Chicago (37-22-10), 8:30 p.m. EDT

CHICAGO (AP) -- Mired in their worst stretch of the season, the

Chicago Blackhawks are trying to gain confidence anyway they


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


Kane has a goal and three assists against Edmonton this season.

Jonathan Toews had a goal with an assist and Cristobal Huet made

24 saves Wednesday for the Blackhawks, who haven't lost five in

a row since Jan. 22-Feb. 6, 2008.

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.


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