10 observations: Blackhawks drop hard-fought battle to Connor McDavid, Oilers

10 observations: Blackhawks drop hard-fought battle to Connor McDavid, Oilers originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Blackhawks dropped a hard-fought battle to the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Tuesday at the United Center.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. The Blackhawks played a pretty good hockey game for the second straight night. Hard to be upset with the effort. They held the Oilers — who lead the NHL with a shots-per-game average of 34.4 — to only 15 shots on goal. It's the lowest shot total the Blackhawks have given up in a game this season; their previous low was 20, which came on Nov. 19 in a 3-2 loss to Buffalo.

2. The Blackhawks are finally starting to get some bodies back. Joey Anderson (shoulder) and Taylor Raddysh (groin) returned to action and jumped inside the top-six. They brought some stability to the lineup.

3. Connor McDavid scored a goal, and he now has at least one point in each of his last eight games against Chicago; six of those games have been multi-point efforts. He has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) over that span. If you include the 2020 postseason bubble, McDavid has an 12-game point streak against the Blackhawks. Feasting.

4. Leon Draisaitl extended his point streak against the Blackhawks to 14 games with a goal in the first period. Only Mario Lemieux (21), Doug Gilmour (21) and Wayne Gretzky have a longer point streak against Chicago over the last 40 seasons, according to the ESPN broadcast. Leon's pretty good, too.

5. On Chicago's first goal, Petr Mrazek made a quality save on McDavid and then Jason Dickinson went the other way and scored his 14th goal of the season. With Oilers president/GM Ken Holland in attendance, couldn't help but wonder whether a package of Dickinson and Mrazek could be appealing to him at the trade deadline.

6. Dickinson went up against McDavid's line all night. Scoring chances at even strength were 3-1 Chicago when the two of them were on the ice against each other, per Natural Stat Trick. Dickinson also had his way with McDavid at the faceoff dot.

7. Philipp Kurashev was probably the best Blackhawk. He skated with confidence, recorded a game-high 10 shot attempts and had two takeaways. He should also be credited with a save on an empty-net chance for the Oilers.

8. Newly-acquired forward Rem Pitlick made his team debut after missing the last game due to travel issues caused by inclement weather. He skated on the first line and was the net-front on the top power-play unit. He was quiet in the first two periods but much more noticeable in the third, where he registered a few shots on net and also hit the post on a half-open net.

9. The Oilers are 16-3-0 since Thanksgiving. They have a +36 goal differential over that span. They're back in playoff contention, and Edmonton is still my pick to win it all this season.

10. Seth Jones joined the team for morning skate on Tuesday but did not play in this game. The Blackhawks want him to get at least one practice in before he's cleared for a game. But he's getting very close. What a boost he will be to the back end.

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