Just as their United Center co-tenants, the Chicago Bulls, had to vacate the UC for two weeks while clowns, elephants and acrobats take over, the Blackhawks begin a six-game road trip tonight that will keep them away from home until November 30.
Tonight's opponent, the Edmonton Oilers, are off to a poor 4-9-3 start and currently rank last in the NHL's Northwest Division and are tied for last in the league with the New York Islanders with only 11 points. Nevertheless, two of those four wins came at the United Center at the expense of the Blackhawks, who now have to play them on the road.
Fortunately for the Blackhawks, the Oilers are only 2-6 at home and are coming off a five-game road trip of their own, where they lost the last four games after defeating the Hawks on Nov. 7. In those four losses Edmonton was outscored 25-8, so the Blackhawks should be licking their lips at the scoring chances, especially since they are at full strength, and coming off a big win Sunday night against the Ducks. The Oilers will be missing Ladislav Smid (head), Magnus Paajarvi (stomach virus) and Theo Peckham (sore wrist); those three are all listed as questionable for Edmonton.
Tonight is the first of two games the Blackhawks will play in the Canadian province of Alberta; they will visit Calgary on Friday night. Tonight's game will be televised on CSN Chicago Plus -- that channel appears on CLTV in Chicago. For other areas and the HD channel, check your cable listings.