Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Edmonton Oilers tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.
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Five Things to Watch:
1. First look at Connor McDavid.
The Blackhawks missed out on seeing McDavid live in all three meetings against the Oilers last year because they occurred during a time he was recovering from a broken collarbone. And they may be catching him at a bad time — although there probably is never a right one. The 2015 No. 1 overall pick snapped a 10-game goal drought by netting his first career NHL hat trick in Saturday's 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars. He's got a hot stick, and you can also count on McDavid handling the defensive responsibility of trying to slow down Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
2. Take advantage on special teams.
The Oilers are 0-for-15 on the power play over their last six games, and have allowed five goals on the man advantage during their last 23 penalty kills, only a 78.3 percent success rate. They're struggling in that aspect while the Blackhawks are beginning to feel good about themselves after a recent power play drought was snapped in a 3-2 win over Calgary on Friday, when they also killed off all five penalties.
3. Play till the end, again.
Unlike their last opponent in Vancouver, the Oilers are used to jumping out to a quick start as they are tied for second in first-period goals this season with 20. After falling behind 3-0 to the Canucks on Saturday night, the Blackhawks rallied to score three unanswered goals in the third period and capped it off with a 4-3 victory in overtime. They now rank tied for third with 23 third-period goals, and own the fourth-best win percentage (37.5) when trailing after two periods. It could have been an easy time to pack it in during a busy stretch in the schedule, but the Blackhawks stole two points and that could make all the difference in the world when deciding a playoff seed.
4. Brace yourselves.
The Oilers have delivered 479 hits this season, which ranks No. 6, while the Blackhawks rank No. 29 in hits with 288. It's not the Blackhawks' style to be physical, but if they need to be, they will. Expect the Oilers to try and use that to their advantage and knock the Blackhawks off their game.
5. Same lineup?
The Blackhawks made several lineup changes in Vancouver partly because it was the second of a back-to-back, but also because guys like Tyler Motte and Vinnie Hinostroza were cleared to return from their respective injuries. Andrew Desjardins and Jordin Tootoo were healthy scratches up front, and could find themselves watching from the press box again tonight considering Joel Quenneville doesn't like to mess with a winning lineup too much, if at all. Michal Rozsival will probably draw out of the lineup for Gustav Forsling, who was a healthy scratch more-so because of a crowded blue line than his on-ice play.
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