RECAP: Blackhawks Win Fifth Straight in Edmonton 6-2


The Blackhawks left rainy Chicago to visit the Oilers in cold, snowy Edmonton, Tuesday night, as they tried to extend their winning streak to five games, and three straight since the all-star break / bye week combination.

The Blackhawks starting lines were as follows:
Drake CaggiulaJonathan ToewsPatrick Kane
Alex DeBrincatDylan StromeDominik Kahun
Brandon SaadDavid KampfMarcus Kruger
Chris KunitzArtem AnisimovJohn Hayden

Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook
Slater KoekkoekErik Gustafsson
Carl DahlstromConnor Murphy

First Period

Shortly after the opening faceoff, a great shift from the Blackhawks center Dylan Strome line lead to Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins taking a slashing penalty against Alex Debrincat less than two minutes into the game. Only a few seconds later, after an offensive zone face-off win by Toews, Erik Gustafsson, fired a wrist shot from the point to beat Talbot through traffic.  Gustafsson now has three goals in his last two games.

The first five minutes saw the Hawks hustling to loose pucks, winning board battles, and exiting their zone cleanly. They generated five shots on goal in the first six minutes of the game and were dictating most of the pace early. At 9:30 Kyle Brodziak took a holding penalty on John Hayden, sending the red-hot dangerous Blackhawks power play out for the second time in the opening frame. Though the power play looked good again, an extra and errant pass from Debrincat below the hash marks squandered the Hawks second man advantage, Oilers with their first successful penalty kill of the game.

The ice started tilting towards the Oilers side as the momentum shift led to Leon Draisaitl taking advantage of a Blackhawks defensive breakdown. Luckily for the visiting team, Ward was in position to make the save in close. The situation did not improve for the Hawks who were sent to the penalty kill at 3:58 after Connor Murphy gets called for a questionable boarding penalty. Much like the first Chicago power play the Oilers scored only moments after Murphy’s infraction.  At 18:45 Darnell Nurse sent a one-timer on Ward, who could not control the rebound. Connor McDavid found the puck and got it to Draisaitl who buried it in the open net to tie the game at one.

Shortly after, and potentially on their way to letting the game get out of hand, the Blackhawks took yet another penalty late in the period. Carl Dahlstrom tripped Ty Rattie sending the Oilers back to the power play less than a minute after the Hawks failed to kill the previous one. A minute into the penalty kill, Marcus Kruger took what could be argued as a good hooking penalty on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who was in close and alone on Ward. Two minutes after allowing the Oilers to tie the game the Hawks face a five on three penalty kill situation.

Jonathan Toews won the crucial face-off in the defensive zone but the Hawks could not control the puck. Connor McDavid fed Draisaitl with an absolutely beautiful no look pass for Draisaitl’s second of the game. In two minutes the Hawks went from up one to down one.

Still on the penalty kill, the Blackhawks committed yet another penalty when McDavid entered the zone with speed on Dahlstrom and Seabrook. Beaten by the best player in the league, Dahlstrom hooked McDavid, giving the Oilers another five on three advantage that would eventually carry over into the second period.

Shots were 16-9 in favor of the Oilers in the first period, and the Oilers led 2-1.

Second Period

The Blackhawks opened the second period killing the final 30 seconds of a five on three penalty kill.  After stifling Draisaitl and McDavid, the Hawks resume five on five play, and started to pressure the Oilers in their zone. Former coach Joel Quenneville, always said something to the effect of ‘whoever wins the 5 on 3 situation usually wins the game’ the Blackhawks would heed those old words in the second period.

Forward Patrick Kane, under the threat of ending his point streak, started to wake up as the top line was an offensive threat almost every shift.

At 13:11 Drake Caggiula had a three-on-one odd-man rush with Patrick Kane but fired a shot that Talbot gloved. Caggiula has been effective on that top line and it was good to see him take the shot when that’s the best choice instead of defaulting to passing it to Kane and squandering a good scoring chance.

The Hawks dictate most of the play in the remaining half of the second period but Talbot kept the Oilers in front. The second period concluded with an incredible save from Cam Ward on Ty Rattie. McDavid drove up the wall and fed Rattie directly in front of the net but Cam Ward went post-to-post and made the pad save, his best of the night.

Shots were 12-7 in favor of the Blackhawks in the second period. Oilers still led 2-1, though.

Third Period

Carrying the momentum from the second period, the Blackhawks looked to even the score in the final frame. At 16:10 Chris Kunitz knocked the puck off the wall, Marcus Kruger picked it up and fed John Hayden in front of the net with a slick backhand. Hayden buried the puck and the Hawks, after controlling most of the play for the last 20 minutes, tied the game early in the third period.

The Blackhawks continued to press the gas pedal as, a minute and a half later, center Dylan Strome scored using Darnell Nurse as a screen and sniped the puck short side over the glove of Cam Talbot, set up by Alex Debrincat and Dominik Kahun. 3-2 Blackhawks.

On the very next shift, Artem Anisimov gained the zone and fired a wrist shot on the Oiler goaltender.  Ward fumbled the rebound, and defenseman Oscar Klefbom got his stick lifted by Patrick Kane.  Kane stole the puck in close and fired it into the open net with Talbot down and out.

Oiler Head Coach Ken Hitchcock challenged the goal claiming goalie interference, as Brandon Saad made a great drive to the net and his foot was in between Talbots legs.  Saad’s leg was out of the blue paint and not interfering with Talbot’s ability to make the save, so the goal stood.

As a result, the Blackhawks had now scored three goals in the last two minutes of play, and Cam Talbot’s night was over. Hitchcock sent in Mikko Koskinen, who on November 1st stopped 40 Hawks shots in a shutout win.

At the 13:22 mark of the final frame, Jonathan Toews entered the Oilers zone off of a Pat Kane feed and drifted between the circles.  He continued below the goal line, maintaining possession from the outstretched stick of defender Kris Russell.  Toews then found Caggiula all alone between the hash marks and Caggiula buried the shot, his second goal in the last week.

With 9:34 left in the game, Jonathan Toews drew a high sticking infraction from Leon Draisaitl which led to another Blackhawks power play. Toews and Debrincat had a couple of opportunities on the resulting man advantage but they could not solve Koskinen initially. After an Oilers clear, Duncan Keith moved the puck to Brandon Saad, who sent the puck to Brent Seabrook along the wall.  Seabrook threw a saucer pass in front of Dominik Kahun, who redirected the puck out of the air and roofed it for his ninth goal of the season. The Hawks now led 6-2 with 7:48 left in the game, and the locals decide to call it a night. The Oilers had decent pressure but the score stayed the same for the remainder of the game, which gave the Blackhawks a convincing 6-2 win

Final Thoughts

The Hawks have now won five in a row.  They have 21 power play goals in the last 16 games and now sit three points out of the final wildcard spot with five teams to jump. They play the team that currently occupies the final wild card spot in the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, an important two points for the Blackhawks.


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