Chicago Blackhawks Vs. Edmonton Oilers: Hawks Defeat Awful Oilers

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Corey Crawford Makes 22 Saves, Blackhawks Win 4-1

Maybe the Blackhawks figured they ought to get serious tonight in Edmonton after their popular teammate Jack Skille was shipped to the Florida Panthers in a five player swap.

Or maybe it was just because the Edmonton Oilers are the worst team in the league. In any case, Bryan Bickell, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane gave the Hawks a 3-0 lead, and after the Oilers scored a late goal and pulled their goaltender with more than two minutes left, Kane put his second goal of the night into the empty net to seal the win and end the Blackhawks losing streak.

The Blackhawks face the Stars in Dallas on Friday and the Coyotes in Phoenix on Saturday.

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Blackhawks Trade Jack Skille To Panthers For Michael Frolik And Alexander Salak

The Blackhawks have shaken up their almost moribund team by sending Jack Skille and two minor leaguers — Hugh Jessiman and David Pacan — to the Florida Panthers for forward Michael Frolik and goaltender Alexander Salak.

The key to the deal is the 22-year-old Frolik, who has played in 213 regular-season games over three NHL seasons with Florida. This year, he’s second on the Panthers with eight goals and 21 assists in 52 games. He’s been one of the Panthers' top three goal scorers and top five point producers in each of his first two seasons before this year.

Salak is 24 and is playing in the Swedish Elite League, leading all goalies in that league with a .925 save percentage and six shutouts.

Could this reflect some dissatisfaction with both Corey Crawford and Marty Turco? Or is it just a shakeup? We’ll hopefully know more soon.

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Chicago Blackhawks Vs. Edmonton Oilers: A Game The Blackhawks Really Must Win

It's not down to do-or-die, win-or-go-home time, but if the Blackhawks can't beat the last-place Edmonton Oilers, then maybe they should think twice about how good a team they really are.

Sure, there are a ton of excuses: had to get rid of players they really didn't want to because of the salary cap. Everyone got hurt. The schedule's been too rough.

It's way past time for excuses and time to execute. While the Blackhawks are in an 11-team scrum between fourth and 14th place in the Western Conference (and only eight points separate those 11 teams), the Oilers are bad. Really bad. Worst-team-in-the-league bad. 40 points bad -- that's 16 points out of 14th place and 18 points behind the Blackhawks. They're 7-14-4 at home and that includes a 5-0 defeat at the hands of the Blackhawks on Nov. 17.

Corey Crawford is expected to get the start in goal tonight. It seems clear he's better than Marty Turco -- but he's been inconsistent at times, too.

The game begins at 8:30 p.m. CST and will be televised on CSN Chicago.

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