With Patrick Kane heating up, the Chicago Blackhawks will try to continue their dominance over the slumping Edmonton Oilers and claim another win on their annual circus road trip.
Kane has often proved troublesome for the Oilers and will seek to lead the Blackhawks to a fifth consecutive victory in the series Saturday night.
Kane’s tiebreaking goal in the third period of Thursday’s 4-3 win over Calgary was his third in as many games, and he assisted on another in the opener to a six-game trek for Chicago (11-7-1). The Blackhawks star winger has six points in his last three games after totaling four goals and six assists in his first 16.
“I feel like I can make plays on the ice. Obviously, when you’re moving well and trying to make those plays, things are going to develop,” Kane said. “I’m playing with two very skilled players right now with (Kris Versteeg) and (Brad Richards) and they’re finding me in good areas and good spots. It seems like we’ve had a couple good games in a row.”
Kane has also had some fine performances against Edmonton (6-12-2), totaling nine goals and 19 assists in his last 17 meetings.
Kane’s 28 points against the Oilers since the start of the 2009-10 season are his second-most against any opponent, trailing only his 29 against Dallas. He has seven goals and 14 assists during a 12-game point streak versus the Oilers.
The Blackhawks have totaled 19 goals during their four-game win streak in the series and have won eight of 10 in Edmonton.
The Oilers are 0-4-1 in their last five contests and 0-5-1 at home since Oct. 29.
Edmonton was outshot 19-8 in a pivotal second period Friday in a 2-0 loss to visiting New Jersey. The Devils scored both of their goals in a 4:28 span.
“The problem with our group right now is that we can’t seem to get the full 60 (minutes), and you need the full 60,” coach Dallas Eakins said.
The Oilers will seek to avoid a season-high sixth consecutive defeat and their first seven-game home losing streak since Jan. 18-Feb. 13, 2011. They’ve been outscored 9-2 in Chicago’s past two visits.
Andrew Shaw had two goals and an assist in the Blackhawks’ last game in Edmonton, a 5-1 win Nov. 25, but is expected to miss his second straight contest because of an upper-body injury. Shaw, who could be replaced by 2011 first-round draft pick Phillip Danault, joins Patrick Sharp (lower body) and Trevor van Riemsdyk (leg) among the missing Blackhawks.
Edmonton’s top-line winger Benoit Pouliot is out indefinitely after breaking his foot while blocking a shot Friday.
“I don’t know how long he’ll be out for, but usually that (sidelines a player) for a while,” Eakins said.
Antti Raanta is expected to make his first NHL start since Oct. 25 and his second against Edmonton. Raanta, 1-2-0 with a 2.03 goals-against average in three games this season, got enough support for a 5-3 home win over the Oilers on Jan. 12.
With Viktor Fasth starting the first game of the back-to-back set, Edmonton could turn to Ben Scrivens in this game. Scrivens, 0-5-1 with a 3.34 GAA in his last seven appearances, faced 40 shots in his only matchup against Chicago, a 3-1 road loss for Los Angeles on Dec. 15.