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Blackhawks-Oilers Preview

AP - Sports

As frustration sets in for the Chicago Blackhawks, the Edmonton Oilers are feeling confident during their best stretch in months.

Chicago looks to avoid its longest road losing streak in more than eight years when it continues its nine-game trip Thursday night against the Oilers, who have won two of the first three meetings this season.

The Blackhawks (29-15-7) were swept in a home-and-home series with Nashville prior to the All-Star break, then returned to action Tuesday with a 3-2 overtime loss in Vancouver to begin their longest road trip since another nine-game journey Jan. 31-Feb. 13, 1994.

It also marked Chicago's fifth consecutive road loss. It hasn't dropped six straight away from home since a franchise-record 19-game skid Nov. 10, 2003-Jan. 29, 2004.

The Blackhawks didn't serve any penalty minutes, though it marked the fourth straight time dating to last season they've lost when not committing a penalty.

"Tough ending but we did some good things to start our trip," coach Joel Quenneville said.

Viktor Stalberg and Jamal Mayers scored, and captain Jonathan Toews added an assist after missing the final game before the break with a wrist injury.

"It's pretty frustrating," Toews said. "We had chances to distance ourselves, a ton of odd-man rushes. Give their goaltender credit, he played well."

Corey Crawford played well also, stopping 30 shots, though he dropped to 3-4-3 with a 3.08 goals-against average in his last 10 starts.

"I felt like we definitely played well enough to win tonight," Crawford said. "It's definitely frustrating."

Crawford's rough stretch began Jan. 2 with a 4-3 home loss to Edmonton, which is 2-0-1 in its last three after a 3-2 win over Colorado on Tuesday.

Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle scored for the Oilers (19-26-5), who have earned at least one point in three straight games for the first time since going 6-0-1 from Oct. 20-Nov. 3.

"It was nice to get that one and hold on in the end. Nice to get the win," Hall said.

Devan Dubnyk made 31 saves and has a 1.58 GAA in starting each of the last three games. He's spent most of the season backing up Nikolai Khabibulin but said he's taking advantage of his recent stretch of starts.

"It's been nice to get the opportunity to keep going and roll with it," Dubnyk said. "I have felt good throughout the year but there were some small things that I needed to work on to get to this point. I certainly can't take it for granted. I have to keep my nose down and realize what is allowing me to do this (and) keep doing it."

It's unclear who will be in net for this matchup, but the former Blackhawk Khabibulin made 34 saves in a 9-2 rout of Chicago on Nov. 19, helping end a six-game home skid to the Blackhawks.

Hall, who has five goals and four assists in seven lifetime games against Chicago, registered his second career hat trick while Eberle had a goal and three assists in that contest.

Rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who is out with a shoulder injury but expects to return within the week, had five assists.

Toews had two goals and Patrick Sharp - who returned Tuesday after missing the previous eight games with a wrist injury - added two assists in a 6-3 win over Edmonton on Nov. 13 in the first meeting.

Toews has 11 goals and seven assists in his last 11 games versus the Oilers.

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