NHL schedule: Five questions for Sunday

Thearon W. Henderson

The NHL has ten games on the schedule for Sunday and we've got some hard-hitting queries that need to be addressed.

1. How will the Chicago Blackhawks survive such horrendous disappointment?

This isn't a question as to whether the Chicago Blackhawks are suddenly going to fall back to earth after their first regulation loss of the season; this is a question as to just painfully bad the Edmonton Oilers will feel the wrath of the best team in the NHL. The Blackhawks head back home after a 6-2 loss to Colorado on Friday and now host the superbly struggling Oilers, who could fall victim to Chicago looking for hard-nosed response to the loss.

2. Will the Penguins be without Evgeni Malkin once more?

The Penguins have already been without Malkin for a short stretch this season after the star forward was injured in an awkward fall into the end boards. Malkin left Saturday's win against Toronto Maple Leafs with an upper-body injury and his status for tonight's contest against the New York Islanders is still unknown. The injury comes just three games after Malkin's return, with the center notching a goal and two assists before this latest setback.

3. Will the New Jersey Devils back up their words in front of backup Johan Hedberg?

The Devils coaches and players have stated this 1-6-1 slump should not fall on Hedberg's shoulders and that this is a team-related slump; will the Devils be able to solve their scoring woes against the visiting Jets and provide the support they state Hedberg needs?

4. Another "scoreboard" moment tonight in Detroit?

The Columbus Blue Jackets are on a roll, winning four straight games including two big wins at home over the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings. The Blue Jackets have beaten the Red Wings three times this season, including a 3-0 victory on Saturday night that ended with Prospal's now-famous "scoreboard" taunt at the end of the game. Can Columbus continue to bring the magic tonight in Detroit with Steve Mason in net, or will Detroit provide some payback for the blatant taunting now that they're back on home ice?

5. Can the Sharks avoid another slump?

The San Jose Sharks had won three of four games to seemingly recover from a near-disastrous February slump, going 2-6-4 to fall behind in the Pacific Division race. Now the Sharks have lost two straight and face the Colorado Avalanche on the road on Sunday, with the Avs still feeling the glow of Friday's big win over Chicago. Perhaps the past two games were just bumps in the road for San Jose or perhaps another slump is just getting started...

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