Edmonton 9 Chicago 2
EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers didn’t just break their four-game losing streak, they smashed it to pieces.
Taylor Hall had a hat trick and rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had five assists, and the Oilers snapped a four-game losing skid in a big way with a 9-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
Jordan Eberle and Tom Gilbert each had a goal and three assists for the Oilers (10-7-2), while Ales Hemsky, Ryan Jones, Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff also scored.
“It definitely gives us confidence,” said Hall, who snapped a nine-game stretch without a goal. “It’s great we won all three periods. It’s easy to let off the gas pedal, but we didn’t.”
Nikolai Khabibulin made 34 saves to move into a tie for 19th in all-time wins with Sean Burke.
The last time the Oilers had three players with four-point nights was Jan. 30, 1991, when Mark Messier, Petr Klima and Steve Smith did it.
“It was fun to see the guys enjoying themselves,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “This was a big game for us under the circumstances.
“Chicago is a good hockey club. I’m not sure you are going to see something like this happen to them again this season.”
Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland replied for the Blackhawks (12-6-3) who have lost two in a row on the heels of a four-game winning streak. Chicago lost 5-2 Friday to a Calgary Flames team that was also in an offensive funk.
“We’re all pissed off,” said Chicago captain Jonathan Toews. “We are all embarrassed. At the same time we are going to stick together and remain a team and not point the finger at any one guy or another. We are going to have to find a way to move on. We know our effort has to be way better. The way we played these last two nights was completely unacceptable.”
One player hanging the loss on himself was goalie Ray Emery, who allowed seven of the Oiler goals.
“It’s personally embarrassing,” he said. “I want to play better than that. We have to remember how bad this feels because we don’t want it to happen again.”
Edmonton got on the board early when Hemsky was a one-man show, walking past a pair of defenders and scoring his first of the season glove-side Emery just 48 seconds in. It was Hemsky’s 400th career NHL point.
Chicago evened the score two minutes later on the power play when Sharp banked a rebound off Khabibulin and in after a scramble in front of the Edmonton net.
The Oilers regained the lead six minutes into the first when Jones threw a hopeful backhand on net that somehow snuck past Emery.
Eberle put the Oilers up 3-1 less than two minutes later as he made a beautiful backhand pass to Smyth at the side of the net for an easy tap-in and his 11th goal of the year.
It was Edmonton’s third goal in nine shots, prompting the Hawks to pull Emery in favour of Corey Crawford, the first time this season a Chicago goalie has been pulled in a game.
Edmonton kept it coming with a power-play goal just under 13 minutes. Crawford made a stop on a Nugent-Hopkins shot but couldn’t prevent Hall from chipping in the rebound from the doorstep.
The Oilers took a 5-1 lead with just over four minutes to play in the first period when Nugent-Hopkins made a nice feed on a two-on-one to Eberle, who deposited his fifth goal of the year.
Emery returned to the Chicago net to start the second.
The Oilers went up by five goals five minutes into the second when Gilbert pinched in to score on a Nugent-Hopkins feed from behind the goal-line with Edmonton enjoying a two-man advantage.
Hall made it 7-1 with his second of the game, putting in a rebound off the boards following a Gilbert shot.
Chicago got one back two minutes later on a power-play goal when a Bolland shot from the top of the circle caught a piece of Khabibulin and caromed into the net.
Edmonton made it 8-2 with one minute left in the second, scoring their fourth power-play goal when Horcoff fought to slide the puck under a diving Emery.
The Oilers capped it at 9-2 midway through the third when Hall used Steve Montador as a screen before rifling home his third of the game, leading to a cascade of hats from the Edmonton faithful and even a shoe.