It wasn't exactly an inspiring effort by the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night, but the annual Circus Trip presents an opportunity for redemption on Saturday night when the Hawks take on the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers have lost four straight games heading into this matchup, being outscored by a margin of 20-8 during that span, but they are fairly strong on their home ice (6-2-1).
Edmonton has some defensive issues heading into this game, but the biggest issue might be with a former Blackhawks player:
Nikolai Khabibulin gave up goals on the first two shots he faced Thursday and was pulled to start the second period. The former Blackhawks netminder has given up 11 goals on 71 shots in his last three starts after allowing nine on 247 in his first nine games.
It may not all be on Khabibulin, though, as Edmonton's defense has been weakened by injuries. Andy Sutton, who recently returned from a five-game suspension, was a late scratch with a groin issue, while Corey Potter suffered an ankle injury during the game. Cam Barker (ankle) and Ryan Whitney (knee) remain out.
I'm not sure that little revelation on Khabibulin comes as much of a surprise to Hawks fans, but hopefully Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and the rest of the team can take advantage of Edmonton's porous defense on Saturday night, as the Hawks are 10-0-2 when scoring at least three goals in a game this season.