Hawks fly past Oilers
CHICAGO — Marian Hossa celebrated his 35th birthday by picking his teammates up after an unlucky break.
Hossa had a power-play goal and an assist, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-3 on Sunday night to end a three-game losing streak.
Hossa’s 17th goal came during a 5-on-3 advantage in Chicago’s dominant second period, and just 29 seconds after teammate Patrick Kane inadvertently bounced a pass off the boards and into an empty net during a delayed penalty call. Edmonton’s Boyd Gordon was credited with a fluke short-handed goal that tied it at 2.
No problem for Hossa, who helped his team move on by quickly regaining the moment for the Blackhawks.
“That type of thing happens once in a while, and we did a good job of bouncing back,” Hossa said. “We got a big one the next shift.”
Ben Smith, Andrew Shaw, Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook also scored for Chicago, which had 15 goals in a three-game sweep of the season series against Edmonton. The Blackhawks picked up their play after a slow start and outshot Edmonton 41-21.
Chicago’s Antti Raanta made 18 saves in just his second start since No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford returned from a lower-body injury on Jan. 2.
Ales Hemsky and Taylor Hall also scored for Edmonton, and Devan Dubnyk blocked 36 shots.
The Blackhawks grabbed control with a three-goal second that gave them a 4-2 lead. Chicago outshot Edmonton 19-5 in the period.
“The second period again,” Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. “It’s a little mind-boggling.”
“I thought we caught a great break on that crazy second goal,” he added. “And then we went out and we couldn’t kill that 5-on-3 and now you’re chasing it against a good team again. You’re very rarely going to fare well doing that.”
Shaw struck first, converting a high screened shot from the left circle at 2:36 of the second. Shaw’s 12th goal came moments after a turnover by Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov at centre ice.
After Gordon’s unusual score tied it at 2, Hossa scored on a screened shot from 35 feet away in the slot.
“I thought we had a better purpose in our game,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said, praising his team’s response to its recent slide. “We were first to a lot of pucks, had better layers in our zones.”
Toews completed a 2-on-1 break with Patrick Sharp with 2:28 left in the second to extend Chicago’s lead to 4-2. After taking Sharp’s feed, Toews tucked a backhander under Dubnyk’s pad.
Hall got one back for Edmonton when he one-timed a pass from Schultz past Raanta at 5:17 of the third, but Seabrook restored Chicago’s two-goal advantage with 5:41 left.
Hemsky opened the scoring at 6:08 of the first. He got past Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith on the right wing, cut alone across the top of the crease and slipped a low backhand shot past Raanta.
The Blackhawks tied it at 1 on Smith’s deflection with 5:34 left in the period. It was Chicago’s first first-period goal since Dec. 30, a span of six games.
The NHL’s most potent offence helped make up for an unlucky break in the second.
The Blackhawks already were on a 5-on-4 power play and buzzing in the Oilers’ zone when Dubnyk hacked Shaw and was assessed a delayed penalty for slashing. Raanta vacated his net and headed to the bench as Chicago sent out an extra attacker.
From the right corner, Kane bounced a pass off the boards toward the right point. But no Blackhawk was there and the puck slid the length of the ice and into the net.
“I thought the point man was there and it seemed to keep catching speed and found the net,” Kane said. “It was good that we got it right back, especially on the 5-on-3. That made it a little bit better.”