Oilers greased in Chicago

Nikolai Khabibulin knew exactly what to expect from the talented Chicago Blackhawks, who shoot from everywhere and aggressively crash the net.

Edmonton Oiler Patrick O’Sullivan tries to jam the puck past Chicago Blackhawk Antti Niemi

Edmonton Oiler Patrick O’Sullivan tries to jam the puck past Chicago Blackhawk Antti Niemi

Blackhawks 4 Oilers 3

CHICAGO — Nikolai Khabibulin knew exactly what to expect from the talented Chicago Blackhawks, who shoot from everywhere and aggressively crash the net.

Stopping a penalty shot, turning aside two breakaways and totalling 34 saves, he did his part. Nevertheless, his new team, the Edmonton Oilers, lost 4-3 to his former club Wednesday night.

“It was weird to be on the other side. They actually have become a pretty good team,” said Khabibulin, mostly a high-priced disappointment during his four years in Chicago but a standout during last season’s run to the Western Conference finals.

“They want to put a lot of pucks on the net . . . and look for rebounds. To beat them, we have to have a good game and I have to have a better game.”

Khabibulin couldn’t have played much better. After he stopped Sharp’s penalty shot at 17:01 of the second period, Sharp could only shake his head and smile.

“I don’t have too much in the bag that he hadn’t seen already,” said Sharp, who did beat Khabibulin on a point-blank shot 51 seconds into the game.

“It’s been our thought process all year long, getting pucks to the net and bodies in front,” Sharp said. “He’s a good goalie, but it’s going to cause chaos in front.”

Khabibulin, who kept Edmonton close by stopping Kris Versteeg and Jonathan Toews on third-period breakaways, had little chance on the goals he allowed to Sharp, Versteeg, Jack Skille and Cam Barker.

Edmonton, meanwhile, managed only 18 shots against Antii Niemi.

“We weren’t very good,” coach Pat Quinn said. “The score was flattering for us.”

After Sharp and Andrew Cogliano traded goals in the first 2 1/2 minutes, Skille scored on a rebound to put the Blackhawks up 2-1 at 13:15 of the first period.

It was only the fifth career goal and first since Oct. 11, 2008, for Skille, Chicago’s No. 1 draft choice in 2005.

Skille began the season at Rockford in the AHL, was called up Saturday, sent down Sunday, recalled Monday, sent back down Tuesday and called back up Wednesday. With the Blackhawks making the moves to manipulate their salary cap, Skille has become very familiar with the 125-klometre trip from Rockford’s MetroCentre to the United Center.

“I practise in the morning in Rockford and drive right back. It’s not that bad a commute,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do about it. I just work here. I do what I’m told.”

Cogliano made a bid to tie the game early in the second period but his shot hit the post. A few minutes later, Brian Campbell carried the puck behind Edmonton’s net and set up Versteeg alone in front to make it 3-1.

The Oilers pulled within a goal at 10:43 of the third when Dustin Penner’s pass from behind the net hit Chicago defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson’ skate and bounced past Niemi. Officials originally waved off the goal, thinking an Edmonton player had kicked it in, but they correctly credited the Oilers with the goal after a video review.

With 2:42 to play and Sharp screening Khabibulin during a power play, Barker scored on a shot from the point. Edmonton’s Denis Grebeshkov completed the scoring with 48 seconds left on a power play with Khabibulin off for an extra attacker.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

Kris Sturgess with Calgary Ghostbusters. (Photo from GoFundMe)
GoFundMe account salutes Red Deer prop builder

Kris Sturgess died unexpectedly April 28

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Gymnastics Canada skipping Olympic qualifier because of COVID-19 concerns

Gymnastics Canada skipping Olympic qualifier because of COVID-19 concerns

Runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu speaks to the media at the opening news conference at the Canadian Track and Field Championships, in Montreal, Thursday, July 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
After pregnancy, injuries and a pandemic, Bishop-Nriagu finally hitting her stride

After pregnancy, injuries and a pandemic, Bishop-Nriagu finally hitting her stride

Lille's Burak Yilmaz, center, reacts with teammates after scoring during their French League One soccer match between Lille and Nice in Villeneuve d'Ascq, northern France, Saturday May 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Canada’s Jonathan David scores milestone goal as Lille moves 4 points ahead of PSG

Canada’s Jonathan David scores milestone goal as Lille moves 4 points ahead of PSG

Jean Carlo Salas of Costa Rica vies for the ball with Canada's Ian Bennett (right) during a CONCACAF Futsal Championship in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CONCACAF-Norvin Mendoza MANDATORY CREDIT
Canada denied a trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in penalty shootout loss to Panama

Canada denied a trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in penalty shootout loss to Panama

Canadian Stephen Ames one shot back of leaders at Regions Tradition

Canadian Stephen Ames one shot back of leaders at Regions Tradition

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson leaves the ice after defeating China at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Friday, May 7, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

Canada’s Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday May 4, 2021. A broad coalition of MPs from all five parties wants the federal government to support waiving the global rules that guard vaccine trade secrets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

Most Read