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Surging Blackhawks welcome sliding Oilers
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks aim for their third three-game winning streak of the season when they host the struggling Edmonton Oilers in Sunday's battle at the United Center.
Chicago has won its last two games, giving the defending Stanley Cup champions a 5-0-1 record over their last six trips to the ice. The Blackhawks have outscored the opposition by a combined 9-3 score over the last two outings, beating visiting Winnipeg by a 4-1 score on Wednesday before posting a 5-2 victory Saturday night in Dallas.
Marian Hossa lit the lamp twice and Patrick Sharp tallied four assists in Chicago's pasting of the Stars at American Airlines Center. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each collected a goal and assist, while Nicklas Hjalmarsson added an empty-net goal.
"We have a team that we feel can score with any line and our defense is great at moving the puck and jumping the play. We just try to build off each other and create offense," said Sharp.
Chicago netminder Corey Crawford stopped 31-of-33 shots fired his way. Former Edmonton goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin could get the call on Sunday for the Blackhawks to save Crawford from having to start on back-to-back days.
Khabibulin, who spent the last four years with Edmonton before signing with Chicago last summer, has only played in three games this season. The 40-year- old is 1-0-1 with a lofty 4.73 goals against average and .818 save percentage this season.
Chicago is kicking off a brief two-game homestand on Sunday and is 6-1-3 as the host this season. The Blackhawks also welcomes Phoenix to the Windy City on Thursday.
The Oilers enter Sunday having lost two straight and seven of their last eight games. Edmonton played Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia and dropped a 4-2 decision to the Flyers, who received the game-winner on Claude Giroux's first goal of the season.
Edmonton, which is last in the Western Conference with just 10 points this season, got goals from David Perron and Taylor Hall in Saturday's loss. Devan Dubnyk allowed four goals on 34 shots for Edmonton.
"I thought we started well the first 10 minutes of the game and then we took a penalty, and it kind of unraveled from there," Hall said. "They had some really good time in our end, had some really good chances. (Dubnyk) made a lot of big stops tonight, where in the past couple games we haven't been giving up those kinds of shots. It's something we have to clean up."
It's unclear if Dubnyk will get the start on back-to-back days or if Jason LaBarbera gets the call instead. The Oilers did announce the signing of veteran goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a one-year deal on Friday, but the outspoken netminder expects to spend time with the Edmonton's AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City for conditioning before joining the NHL club.
Edmonton has four wins in the last six overall meetings against the Blackhawks and is 4-1-1 in its past six trips to the Windy City. Chicago did take two of three from the Oilers during last year's lockout-shortened season.
11/10 11:02:02 ET