Oilers-Blackhawks Preview

The Associated Press

The Chicago Blackhawks have won two of the last four Stanley Cups, but beating the Edmonton Oilers has been a problem.

The Western Conference-worst Oilers look to continue their uncanny success against the Blackhawks Sunday night at the United Center.

Although they've been one of the league's worst teams the last few years, the Oilers are 4-1-1 in the last six meetings against the defending champions. They've scored 30 goals in those games, going 11 for 31 on the power play.

Edmonton will see a red-hot Blackhawks team that improved to 5-0-1 in its last six games with a 5-2 victory at Dallas on Saturday.

Chicago (11-2-4) has scored at least five goals in five of its last eight and is second in the league with 61 goals.

"We've been creating our fair share of chances all season long, and early on the pucks seemed to be staying out and now they seem to be able to score with every line," Patrick Sharp told the team's official website.

Sharp had four assists while Marian Hossa scored twice Saturday. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews each had a goal and an assist.

Toews has seven goals in his last nine games. He's scored 12 career goals against the Oilers, which is tied for his second highest total against any team.

Kane has a goal in three straight and six of his last eight.

The Blackhawks killed all six Dallas power plays and scored on their only power-play opportunity.

"Basically, it was one of those nights where special teams was the differential," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Our penalty kill led the charge. It was a great goal for the power play. I thought overall we played a real strong game discounting the penalties we took."

They've had three power-play chances or fewer in each of their last six games - 4 of 13 for 30.8 percent. They've killed 12 of 13 short-handed situations (92.3 percent) in that time.

Recent history against the Blackhawks aside, the rest of the league isn't treating the Oilers (4-12-2) very kindly. They have one win in their last eight (1-6-1) after Saturday's 4-2 loss in Philadelphia. The Flyers had scored more than two goals in one game prior to Saturday.

"Something we have to clean up is there is a little bit of a disruption between what we're doing in our own end," Taylor Hall told the team's official website. "As far as that goes it's pretty hard to score when you're in your own end. We've got to figure out what's wrong there and then from there it's getting the puck into the oppositions end. And figuring something out there."

Hall scored his fifth goal of the season and has four in his last four games. He's scored in both games he's played since returning from a seven-game stint on injured reserve with a knee injury.

The Oilers are allowing a league-worst 3.83 goals per game. They've held opponents to two goals or fewer twice in 18 games.

Friday's signing of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a one-year contract is something the team hopes will help address those numbers.

Bryzgalov went 19-17-3 with a 2.79 goals-against average last season for the Flyers. It's uncertain when he will join the team.

With games on back-to-back nights, Nikolai Khabibulin could start for the Blackhawks against his former team. Khabibulin, who hasn't played since Oct. 29, spent the previous four seasons with Edmonton.

The last meeting in Chicago was March 10, a 6-5 Oilers victory.