The Edmonton Oilers will try to knock off the top team in the Western Conference Monday night when they host the Chicago Blackhawks.
Chicago rolls into Rogers Place with a record of 13-4-2. The Oilers are 10-8-1.
“They’re driven by players who are wearing three Stanley Cup rings, including the coaching staff,” says Oilers head coach Todd McLellan. “The game is built around what they believe in. If you’re a young player coming in, you adjust to their game plan.”
Offensively, the Blackhawks are led by Patrick Kane, who has 20 points in 19 games.
“He creates time,” says Oilers defenceman Kris Russell. “You can’t go running around chasing him or else you can look pretty silly. Our forwards need to do a good job, too. We need to have some back pressure so they don’t get as clean carries as they want.”
The Oilers will go with the same lineup that beat Dallas 5-2 on Saturday. Eric Gryba, Mark Letestu, and Benoit Pouliot will again be healthy scratches.
“We’ve consistently rewarded the lineup for a good effort. We’re not going to change that now. Benoit will get going and he’s going to end up being a significant part of our team when he gets the opportunity to go back in,” says McLellan. “Tonight, it’s not about sending Benoit Pouliot a message, it’s about rewarding a group that played a pretty solid game.”
The Oilers expected lineup is:
Lucic – McDavid – Puljuarvi
Maroon – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
Slepyshev – Draisaitl – Kassian
Hendricks – Caggiula – Pitlick
Klefbom – Larsson
Russell – Sekera
Nurse – Gryba
Catch the Oilers and Hawks on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 5:30pm. The game starts at 7pm. (jrw)