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Streaking Oilers face home test vs. Blackhawks

Nov 25, 2013 - 4:19 PM
( - While they remain last in the Western Conference, the Edmonton Oilers are in the midst of by far their best stretch of the season.

The Oilers, though, face a stiff task on Monday night as they look to extend their longest winning streak of the campaign in a matchup with the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

The 2013-14 season has been a rough one for Edmonton and first-year head coach Dallas Eakins, with the Oilers having posted three separate five-game losing streaks. However, they have followed up their most recent skid with a season- high three-game winning streak.

Edmonton has outscored its opponents 15-3 over that span and is coming off Thursday's 4-1 victory against the Florida Panthers.

Jordan Eberle and Devan Dubnyk continued their recent impressive stretches, with Eberle scoring twice and Dubnyk posting 24 saves. David Perron and Sam Gagner added goals and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins notched three assists.

"Our confidence is high. We want to keep that going but also understand that we have higher aspirations than the game that we played today," said Eakins. "We can play better than we played today."

Edmonton improved to 3-7-0 as the home club and wraps a three-game residency tonight.

Eberle has notched four goals and an assist over the three-game win streak, while Dubnyk has yielded the three goals on 74 shots and also notched his first shutout of the season. Dubnyk's hot streak has come on the heels of Edmonton's recent signing of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.

Dubnyk's current stretch should keep him in net tonight and he is 2-4-0 with a 3.83 goals against average in eight games (7 starts) lifetime versus the Blackhawks. That does include a 5-4 loss in Chicago on Nov. 10, with Dubnyk yielding all five goals on 36 shots.

Perron and Eberle both had a goal and an assist in the loss, Edmonton's third in its last four versus Chicago.

The Blackhawks have won seven of their last nine in Edmonton and got goals from Marcus Kruger and Duncan Keith less than two minutes apart in the third period to best the Oilers.

Kruger was part of an even quicker scoring binge on Saturday as he tallied nine seconds after Andrew Shaw in the third period of Saturday's 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Corey Crawford aided Chicago's comeback by stopping all 14 shots he faced in the final frame, part of a 36-save effort that helped lift the Blackhawks to their seventh win in nine games. Chicago is 2-1 on a seven-game road trip.

"I didn't mind the way we played for 40 minutes down a goal. We got a lucky one to get us going, and a great response on the following shift. It was nice to see us find a way," said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville.

Patrick Kane had an assist on Shaw's goal to extend the league's longest active point streak to 10 games. He has five goals and nine assists over the run.

Forward Bryan Bickell sat out a second game in a row with a lower-body injury, while Marian Hossa did not play after leaving the club to attend to a family matter. Hossa had just returned on Thursday from a three-game absence caused by a lower-body injury and it is unknown how long his personal matter will keep him out.

Crawford is 3-5-0 with a 3.20 GAA in 10 previous meetings with the Oilers, including six starts. He made 19 saves in the Nov. 10 victory.