clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Blackhawks Vs. Oilers: Hossa-less Hawks Face Former Hawk Khabibulin

(Sports Network) - An offseason salary cap crunch forced the Blackhawks to shed some of the key pieces from last year's Stanley Cup championship run. Injuries are now further thinning out the club.

Chicago will be without forward Marian Hossa tonight when it hosts the sinking Edmonton Oilers, losers of six straight, at the United Center.

After winning their first championship since 1961 a season ago, the Blackhawks were forced to part way with several players, including playoff heroes Dustin Byfuglien, Antti Niemi as well as Brent Sopel, John Madden and Kris Versteeg.

Chicago also lost defenseman Brian Campbell to a knee injury before the start of the season and he has yet to suit up in 2010-11, but could return next week.

The club still figured to be in good shape offensively with the likes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, but Hossa suffered a lower-body injury in the second period of Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Kings. The ailment will sideline Hossa for a couple of weeks according to head coach Joel Quenneville.

Sharp scored his NHL-leading ninth goal in Wednesday's win, while Viktor Stalberg and Jake Dowell also lit the lamp as Chicago snapped a two-game skid and won for the fifth time in seven games.

Marty Turco, signed this offseason to replace Niemi, made 33 saves.

"It's not always about being perfect. Sometimes you end up squeezing your stick a little too tight and make plays without much patience," said Turco. "Just squeak it out and to get some big goals right down at the end, that's going to be just as big as playing the right way."

Hossa is second on the club with seven goals, so the Blackhawks will need Kane and Toews to step up. Both forwards have just two goals on the young season.

Chicago will miss Hossa tonight given that he has 10 goals in 18 career games against the Oilers. Sharp has six goals and 12 points in 17 meetings with Edmonton, while Kane has a pair of goals and 12 points in 12 games.

Turco is 18-6-2 with a 2.36 goals-against average in his career versus the Oilers, going 2-0-2 in the last four meetings.

The Blackhawks will try to take advantage of an Oilers club that has lost six straight since beginning the season with a pair of wins. Edmonton dropped a second straight shootout decision on Thursday, falling 3-2 in Columbus.

Devan Dubnyk made 39 saves, but was bested twice in the shootout. Shawn Horcoff scored and rookie Taylor Hall, the first overall pick of the 2010 draft, notched his first career NHL goal -- a game-tying tally in the third period -- to go along with an assist.

"We didn't have a great game tonight," Edmonton head coach Tom Renney said. "We needed to be more physically involved in the game. We needed to go to the dirty areas more, especially people that get the minutes. That being said, the kids are just playing. They understand they are getting an opportunity here and they certainly don't want to let anybody down."

The Blackhawks swept the four-game season series between the two last year and have won seven of the last eight meetings overall. Edmonton has dropped two straight and seven of its last 10 at the United Center.

Former Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin should get the call in net for the Oilers tonight. He is 12-7-0 with a tie and 2.25 GAA lifetime versus the Blackhawks, who he played with from 2005-06 through 2008-09.