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Blackhawks host Oilers hoping to avoid 4th straight defeat
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks hope to avoid posting their longest losing streak in nearly two years on Sunday night as they begin a homestand against the Edmonton Oilers.
The Blackhawks have matched a season high with three straight losses, going 0-1-2 since a win at New Jersey on Jan. 3. They did earn a point in last night's setback, falling 2-1 in overtime to the hosting Montreal Canadiens.
Marian Hossa had a goal and Corey Crawford made 36 saves, giving up the game- winner at 1:28 of overtime.
Crawford had come up with a couple of big saves early in the bonus frame, but could not handle Andrei Markov's blast from the left point that found room inside the far post.
"There were stretches when we were getting favorable bounces," noted Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville. "We were playing the right way, but it just seems the last few games that we played loose and with little support on puck pressure."
Chicago, set to play its next four at home, is looking to avoid its longest losing streak since a nine-game slide from Jan. 21-Feb. 14, 2012.
It is unknown if Quenneville will turn to Crawford again tonight in an effort to get the netminder his first win since Nov. 29, or go with rookie backup Antti Raanta.
Limited to just three games in December due to injury, Crawford is 0-3-3 in his last seven starts and has gone 4-5-0 with a 2.96 goals against average in 11 career games (7 starts) versus the Oilers.
The rookie Raanta has never faced Edmonton and has gone 11-1-3 with a 2.27 GAA in 16 games (14 starts) on the season.
Chicago has beaten Edmonton twice already this season -- once at home and once on the road -- and has taken three straight and seven of the last 11 meetings. The Blackhawks won a 5-4 home decision over the Oilers on Nov. 10.
Edmonton begins a four-game road trip tonight having won just twice in its last seven games. However, the Oilers' most recent victory was a big one as they bested the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime on Friday.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and had an assist, netting the winner 61 seconds into overtime. He one-timed a feed from Jordan Eberle to the right of the net on a power play for his 13th goal of the season.
"A really nice pass from Eberle, backdoor and he left me with a lot of net to work with," Nugent-Hopkins said.
Taylor Hall scored and defenseman Anton Belov netted his first career NHL goal and sixth career point, while Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves.
Edmonton could start Ilya Bryzgalov tonight and he is 8-6-4 with a 2.55 GAA in 20 career games versus the Blackhawks, all but two of those starts. His Oilers debut came in relief at home on Nov. 25 versus Chicago and he stopped 12 of 13 shots faced in the club's 5-1 setback.
01/12 10:47:47 ET