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.