|5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET21:30 BRT, October 14, 2019
United Center, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 21,260
Oilers put perfect record on line at Blackhawks
Edmonton Oilers at Chicago Blackhawks
- Following a 4-1 win over the Rangers in New York on Saturday, the Oilers are 5-0-0 for just the third time in franchise history, along with the 1983-84 and 1985-86 seasons. Edmonton finished with 119 points in both seasons, winning the Stanley Cup in 1983-84.
- Connor McDavid has 12 points (4G, 8A) in five games this season -- the most by an Oiler through five games since Wayne Gretzky also had 12 in 1987-88, his final year in Edmonton. Gretzky finished that season with 149 points.
- Since the 2016-17 season, Edmonton is 5-3-1 against Chicago, with the Blackhawks sporting a 4-3-2 record in those games. Despite an even spread in total goals in those games (the Oilers have 23 and the Blackhawks have 22), five of the nine games have been decided by at least three goals.
- Chicago has just one point in its first three games, tied for its fewest since the 2005-06 season -- the Hawks also started 0-2-1 in 2008-09. After winning in their fourth game that year, head coach Denis Savard was fired and Joel Quenneville replaced him.
- Brandon Saad scored a shorthanded goal and Brent Seabrook scored a power-play goal in the first period of Saturday's loss to the Jets -- it was the first time Chicago had done both in the opening period since February 6, 2016 against the Stars.
- Edmonton's power play has gone 7-for-17 (41.2 percent) this season, behind only Buffalo's 42.1 percent. Chicago has had just six power-play opportunities in its three games, fewest in the league, but has scored on two of them.
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The Edmonton Oilers will try to continue their sizzling start when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night.
Edmonton (5-0-0) has opened the season with five straight victories for the first time since the 1985-86 campaign, when the roster included legends such as Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri and Mark Messier. And while nobody is comparing the current club with the franchise's mid-1980s powerhouses, the young Oilers have energized a fan base that has been starved for success in recent years.
Already, the team has made NHL history by coming from behind in each of its first five wins.
"It just shows the kind of guys we have in here," Oilers goaltender Mike Smith told reporters.
"We're not getting rattled. We're sticking with games. We're finding ways to win different ways. Everyone is playing a big part in winning. Early on in the season, that's huge for the belief of this team, this organization and guys in this locker room to know that we can play close games for one, but come back."
It is exactly the type of success Blackhawks fans witnessed up close during a stretch when the franchise won three Stanley Cup championships in six seasons from 2010 through 2015. But success has been harder to reach lately for Chicago, which has only one point in its first three games.
Chicago held a 2-0 lead over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday evening, only to fall 3-2 in overtime.
"As a group, we have to have that character to close out games and step on their throat when they're down," Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad said to reporters.
The Blackhawks are led on offense by Patrick Kane, who has one goal and three assists in the first three games. Defenseman Erik Gustafsson is second in scoring with three assists.
The Oilers' attack is led by the potent one-two punch of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. In five games, McDavid has a whopping 12 points (four goals, eight assists), while Draisaitl is right behind with 11 (four goals, seven assists).
McDavid said he and his teammates refuse to be satisfied despite their undefeated start.
"It's nice to be 5-0, but there is so much work to be done," McDavid told reporters after his team's 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday. "Some sloppy games, some wins that maybe we didn't deserve, but we found a way. We have to keep getting better, keep finding our game."
Chicago will start either Corey Crawford (0-2-0, 4.62 goals-against average) or Robin Lehner (0-0-1, 2.95 GAA) between the pipes. Crawford has faced the Oilers 18 times in his career and has a record of 9-7-0 with a 2.53 GAA. Lehner is 5-1-2 with a 1.86 GAA in eight career games against the Oilers.
Meanwhile, Edmonton will start Smith (3-0-0, 2.67 GAA) or Mikko Koskinen (2-0-0, 2.40 GAA) in net. Smith carries a career record of 11-9-1 with a 3.04 GAA against Chicago, while Koskinen is 1-0-0 with a 1.62 GAA in two games against Chicago.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 14, 2019