The Chicago Blackhawks came into Saturday night’s action against the red-hot Edmonton Oilers with a four-game win streak on the line. In Derek King’s first games behind the bench, the Hawks have looked rejuvenated, playing with good pace and doing their best to get the puck on net as much as possible. Kevin Lankinen got the call in net, along with Mike Hardman and Brandon Hagel checking back into the lineup as well.
The Blackhawks started off putting good pressure on the Oilers, getting pucks on net and keeping much of the action down at the offensive end of the ice. Just before the 10-minute mark of the period, Jesse Puljujarvi of the Oilers batted the puck out of the air to a blistering Connor McDavid, who put the puck off of the back of Lankinen, who was able to keep the puck behind his net and avoid any further chance from the Oilers.
Shortly thereafter, after a Lankinen equipment issue, the puck went from behind the Blackhawks’ net out in front out to Evan Bouchard, who took a shot on net, with the rebound popping out in front to McDavid, who put the puck into the back of the net for a 1–0 Oilers lead. Philipp Kurashev took a tripping penalty just a few seconds after that goal, putting the Oilers on the power play for the first time. Then, Jonathan Toews got a stick up high on McDavid, putting the lethal Oilers power play in a 5-on-3 situation.
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) November 21, 2021
They were easily able to convert, with Tyson Barrie burying the puck past Lankinen doubling the Edmonton advantage to 2–0.
At the 5:19 mark of the period, Puljujarvi took down Seth Jones beside the Blackhawks’ net, giving the Hawks their first power play of the evening. Jones then gave up a horrible turnover in the offensive zone right to Kailer Yamamoto, who took the chance the other way and wristed the puck right past Lankinen pushing the gap to 3–0 Oilers.
The Oilers kept pouring it on, with Ryan McCleod busting right through the slot unabated, roofing a backhander past Lankinen to give Edmonton a commanding 4–0 lead.
Mercifully, that was finally answered after a Jones shot from the point deflected off of Kirby Dach, and then off of Alex DeBrincat, getting the visitors on the board at 4–1, which is how it would stay at the end of the period.
The second period started off the opposite of the first, with the Oilers pouring on pressure on the Blackhawks, with Caleb Jones and Connor Murphy out on the ice for almost five minutes on the ice in one shift to start off the period.
Connor Murphy and Caleb Jones just logged a shift of 4:50. Holy cow. #Blackhawks
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) November 21, 2021
The first eight minutes of the period went by without a whistle at all until the Blackhawks got an icing call against them. Zach Hyman took a roughing call at the 8:19 mark of the frame, giving the Hawks another power play opportunity on an incredibly stupid penalty. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks could not make Hyman pay for the elbow on Patrick Kane, and both teams went back to 5-on-5 hockey. Lankinen then denied the Oilers on a 3-on-1 break in order to keep the score at 4–1 Oilers.
Trying to get something going to claw back into this game, Kane streaked into the Oilers’ zone and rang one off of the post, beating Stuart Skinner but not the iron.
Edmonton continued to put on pressure, as Kurashev got a holding penalty at the 13:07 mark of the frame, giving the Oilers another power play. The Blackhawks killed it off, and then, Kurashev got a breakaway, looked for DeBrincat and got the puck over to him to put the puck past Skinner, cutting the gap to 4–2.
After a flurry of penalties, the Oilers ended up with another shorthanded goal when Leon Draisaitl had a breakaway and beat Lankinen again, putting Edmonton ahead by three goals at 5–2.
That is how a disappointing game would finish, with the Blackhawks snapping their win streak at four games.
The Blackhawks let McDavid get in their heads, and really shot themselves in the foot several times in this game, especially in allowing two shorthanded goals. The amount of defensive zone time needs to be much more limited as well, as a 4:50 shift is absolutely ridiculous, even though Murphy and Caleb Jones played very well that shift for how exhausted they must have been.
The Blackhawks are back in action on Sunday night against the Vancouver Canucks for a 7 p.m. CST puck drop.