NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 10th (All times Eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (8-11-5) at Chicago Blackhawks (21-1-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks made it halfway through the shortened season before finally suffering a regulation loss in their last trip to the ice.
The Blackhawks have a good chance to get back in the win column Sunday, when they host the sliding Edmonton Oilers at United Center.
Chicago went 21-0-3 to begin the 48-game regular season before finally losing in regulation Friday evening at Colorado. The Avalanche won the finale of a home-and-home series in 6-2 fashion, avenging Chicago's 3-2 comeback win in Wednesday's meeting at United Center.
The lopsided loss ended a pair of monumental Chicago streaks. The Blackhawks compiled the longest point streak to begin an NHL season and had also won a franchise-record 11 straight games before losing in Denver.
Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell scored for the Blackhawks, who hadn't lost in regulation since a 6-1 setback at home to Nashville on Mar. 25, 2012 -- an incredible stretch of 30 games.
Corey Crawford gave up five goals on 19 shots in 40 minutes to suffer the defeat. Ray Emery stopped 11-of-12 chances in the third.
"It's a great accomplishment, having different ways of winning night in and night out and seeing contributions from all different players," said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville. "It was a lot of fun right up until today. Our opponents treated it like it was something different, and we welcomed the challenge."
Perhaps, Chicago lost its first regulation game due to the absence of Patrick Sharp, who suffered a shoulder injury in Wednesday's game against Colorado and will miss 3-to-4 weeks of action. The valuable two-way forward is fourth on the Blackhawks with 18 points (5 goals, 13 assists) in 2013.
Although they'll be without Sharp for an extended period of time, defenseman Steve Montador is nearing a return to game action after a long battle with concussion symptoms. Montador hasn't played since March 27 of last season, but he was activated from injured reserve earlier this week and is working his way into game shape.
The Blackhawks can still remain unbeaten in regulation at home on Sunday after beginning the 2013 campaign with a 11-0-1 mark at United Center. Following this game, however, Chicago will head out on a four-game road trip that is set to begin Thursday at Columbus.
One of Chicago's wins during its 11-game streak came at the expense of Edmonton as the Blackhawks notched a 3-2 overtime win against the visiting Oilers on Feb. 25. Marian Hossa scored the game-winner at 1:44 of the extra session to deliver the sixth of Chicago's 11 straight victories.
Edmonton had won three straight in this series before losing that OT decision. It was the Oilers' second setback in their past three trips to the Windy City.
The Oilers, who are last in the Western Conference with 20 points, enter Sunday on a five-game losing streak (0-4-1) but the club hasn't lost six in a row since an 0-8-3 stretch from March 8-31, 2011.
Edmonton has been shut out in its last two trips to the ice, losing 3-0 in Detroit on Thursday before being slammed 6-0 the following night in Nashville. All told, the Oilers are 1-4-2 on a nine-game road trip that will end Tuesday in Colorado.
Devan Dubnyk was pulled after allowing two goals on 13 shots in the first period for the Oilers in Friday's rout. Yann Danis finished up by surrendering four scores on 21 shots.
"It's difficult to say anything positive about what happened," Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger said. "There's really no excuses at all."
Edmonton is 4-7-3 as the road team this season.
03/10 10:59:09 ET