|Edmonton's Sam Gagner chases Chicago's Dustin Byfuglien on October 22, 2008 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)|
A powerplay goal, a shorthanded goal, an even-strength goal, and perfect goaltending from Nikolai Khabibulin put an end to Edmonton's four-game winning streak with a 3-0 shutout loss Wednesday night in Chicago.
Making his first regular season start in over six months, Dwayne Roloson manned the pipes for Edmonton, directly opposite Blackhawks netminder Nikolai Khabibulin.
Just over two minutes into the first period, Zack Stortini took a roughing penalty for his role in a shoving match near the penalty boxes. But the Blackhawks let Stortini sit out only 16 seconds as young Captain Jonathan Toews fed Patrick Sharp from behind Roloson's net, and Sharp beat the veteran goalie to give his club an early 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later, the Oilers enjoyed their first powerplay but were stifled by the 'Hawks penalty killers and unable to tally a shot.
Stortini indulged in more rough play at the eight-minute mark, and the resulting fisticuffs with Matt Walker near the Chicago bench earned both players fighting majors.
At the conclusion of the penalties, the Oilers were again forced to play shorthanded when Shawn Horcoff earned a hooking penalty, but the club killed the two minutes to stay within one.
With four minutes left in the period, Ladislav Smid witnessed a hit on Lubomir Visnovsky and decided to go toe-to-toe with Colin Fraser at center ice. But it would take a double high-sticking minor to Chicago's Ben Eager to put special teams back on the ice.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, the Blackhawks continued to dominate the special teams battles despite being down a man. After a blocked shot sent the puck out to center ice, the penalty killers surged in on Roloson. A drop pass destined for Brent Seabrook's stick was directed back into the Edmonton net resulting in a 2-0 lead for the hometown 'Hawks after 20 minutes.
Ladislav Smid shares his thoughts after 20 minutes
The Oilers started the second with over two minutes of five-on-four, but the club couldn't cut the gap in half. Despite edging to within three shots of Chicago, Edmonton's powerplay woes continued miway through the game when a third man-advantage passed without a goal.
At 12:17, Chicago scored their third unanswered goal. Poised at the top of the slot, an unincumbered Aaron Johnson surprised Roloson with a slapshot for the Blackhawks' first even-strength goal of the game.
In the final minute of the middle frame, Roloson got caught away from the net and was then forced to dive across the crease to stop a surprise shot on the other side. The move kept his club within three goals heading into the third period.
Denis Grebeshkov speaks in the second intermission
The Oilers fired two shots to the Blackhawks' one in the first seven minutes of the third period, but Khabibulin continued to frustrate the visitors. Halfway through the final frame, Oilers Captain Ethan Moreau took his frustrations out on Troy Brouwer and Edmonton netted a roughing minor for the altercation.
Although the Oilers pressed to break their goose egg, Khabibulin and his defenders kept the club goal-less through to the final buzzer, securing a 3-0 shutout victory for Chicago and Edmonton's first loss of the regular season.