Preview: Blackhawks at Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers are only one point out of first place in the cluttered Pacific Division but an injury to their star captain is a reason for major concern. Connor McDavid bruised his left knee in Saturday's 3-2 victory over Nashville and his status is unclear for the finale of a three-game homestand against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
The league's second-leading scorer behind teammate Leon Draistail, McDavid participated in some drills before making an early departure from Monday's practice. "He's got a bruise on his knee or above his knee," coach Dave Tippett told reporters. "We'll see where he is in the morning. I wouldn't rule him out (for Tuesday) but I'm not saying he's in, either." The Blackhawks are sitting just outside the playoff picture but have dropped three in a row after opening a five-game road trip with a 5-2 loss at Winnipeg on Sunday. "We need to play all 60 minutes," forward Brandon Saad said after Chicago squandered a two-goal lead and failed to earn points for only the second time in 10 games (6-2-2). "We know how big the game is. Just because we started off well, we obviously took our foot off the gas."
TIME: 9 p.m. ET. TV: NBCS Chicago-Plus, Sportsnet West
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (25-22-8): The power play continues to sputter for Chicago, which failed on all three chances against Winnipeg. That dropped the Blackhawks to 28th in the league with a meager success rate of 15.2 percent. “(We) can’t make excuses, can’t keep changing it either and thinking that there’s some magic formula," said captain Jonathan Toews, who collected an assist to reach a milestone with his 800th career point. "It's up to the guys that go out there to really earn it and work for it and not take it for granted."
ABOUT THE OILERS (29-20-6): McDavid said he was "a little sore and swollen" and described his injury as similar to a Charley horse, but said it was not related to the torn posterior cruciate ligament he suffered last season. "It's a completely different part (of the leg). Nothing that was hurt before hurts now. That's good news," McDavid said. "We'll see how it feels tomorrow and worry about it tomorrow." Draisaitl, who has a league-best 85 points, scored twice in Saturday's win to give him six goals and 15 points in eight games.
1. Oilers D Darnell Nurse signed a two-year contract extension on Monday.
2. Blackhawks F Patrick Kane has 17 goals and 53 points in 41 games against the Oilers, including a goal in a 3-1 victory on Oct. 14.
3. Oilers F James Neal (foot) did not practice Monday and is expected to miss his sixth straight game.
PREDICTION: Oilers 4, Blackhawks 3