Oilers-Blackhawks Preview

The Associated Press

With their record-setting point streak to start a season now in the past, the Chicago Blackhawks can simply focus on maintaining their spot atop the NHL.

Coming off their first regulation defeat of 2013, the host Blackhawks look to rebound Sunday night against an Edmonton Oilers team trying to avoid being shut out in three straight games for the first time ever.

Playing its sixth game in nine days, Chicago (21-1-3) lost 6-2 at Colorado on Friday. It was the Blackhawks' first regulation defeat in 30 games, dating to March 25, and also snapped a team-record 11-game winning streak and 14-0-4 road stretch.

"We're proud of it, but it'll be nice to move on now,'' defenseman Duncan Keith said.

The Blackhawks still remain in control of the Central Division and their league-best 45 points are eight more than Anaheim in the Western Conference.

"They found different ways to win, night in and night out, and everyone contributed to something that hadn't been done," coach Joel Quenneville said. "It's a great feather in our cap, but let's move forward here and try to get better."

Chicago hopes to improve after allowing two more goals Friday than in any other game this season. Jonathan Toews gave the Blackhawks an early 1-0 lead but Colorado scored the next five, including four in the second period, to rebound from a 3-2 loss at Chicago on Wednesday.

Corey Crawford, who had not allowed more than three goals in his previous 14 starts, yielded five on 19 shots before being pulled after two periods.

Though the Blackhawks obviously don't welcome any type of defeat, they no longer must hear about their historic run.

"I'd say the last handful of games the talk about it kind of got out of control,'' said Toews, who has four goals and three assists in six games. "We always focused on the same thing, being prepared to play our team game. We never really got distracted by that.

"Maybe it does take a little bit of pressure off us and we can sit back and look at the good things we've done.''

The Blackhawks will try to get back on track in their final home contest before a four-game trip. Chicago needed overtime to snap a three-game skid to Edmonton (8-11-5) with a 3-2 home win Feb. 25.

The Oilers opened a nine-game trip with that defeat and fell to 1-4-2 on the trek with a fifth consecutive loss, 6-0 at Nashville on Friday.

Outscored 9-0 while losing on consecutive nights to Detroit and the Predators, Edmonton's last goal came from Magnus Paajarvi 31 seconds into the second period of a 4-3 shootout defeat at Columbus on Tuesday.

"It's obviously unacceptable,'' said forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who has one point in his last 10 games.

The Oilers have gone two straight games without a power-play opportunity after going 0 for 7 in the previous three. They last dropped six straight during an 11-game slide March 8-31, 2011.

"We can only dig deep to see why we have gone two games without drawing a power play and why the result happened,'' coach Ralph Krueger said. "There is no time to regroup. There is no time to feel sorry for yourself.''

The Oilers managed 19 shots last month against Chicago's Ray Emery, who is an NHL-record 10-0-0 and has a 2.05 goals-against average.

Edmonton could get a boost if goal leader Ales Hemsky returns after sitting Friday with a foot injury.

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