With the loss, the Oilers' record drops to 9-6-2 with the team's third straight loss. The orange & blue continue to lead the NHL's Northwest Division, placing third the Western Conference.
The Oilers return home to go head-to-head with the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. Game time is 7:30 p.m. MDT and it can be seen on Sportsnet Oilers.
The Oilers and Blackhawks traded goals in the game's remaining 55 minutes, but a pair of early tallies from the home side pushed Chicago to a two-goal advantage, and then some, that could never be overwritten; the Oilers dropped a 6-3 score to the Blackhawks Sunday night in Illinois.
At 4:55, the home side's relentless pressure resulted in the game's 1-0 goal. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews curled from the goal line, sneaking out to the low-slot at the crease's lip; he then placed a well-executed shot up top, bar-in on Nikolai Khabibulin to put Chicago up.
34 seconds later, the Oilers went down by a pair. Hawks D man Steve Montador scooped a loose puck and danced in on the wilting orange and blue coverage. Chicago's No. 5 broke in on Lennart Petrell and Corey Potter before cuttting across the crease and depositing the puck past the veteran netminder at 5:29.
Chicago's quick-strike attack prompted Head Coach Tom Renney to call a timeout to settle his troops.
Passed the period's 10-minute mark, Chicago held a slim 6-4 edge in shots but were quite content with the numbers on the scoreboard.
The Hawks' early advantage didn't cause the visiting side to lay down, mind you. At 11:41, the team's leading scorer, Ryan Smyth, propelled his club back into the game. In picking up a loose puck behind Chicago's goal-line, No. 94 stepped up, drove the net and caught Corey Crawford by surprise with a pseudo post-side tap-in to make it a 2-1 game.
With 5:39 to play, Jordan Eberle, who assisted on Smyth's goal, was assessed a holding minor to put the Blackhawks' 12.5-percent power-play to work. With 10 seconds remaining in the chance, the Blackhawks succeeded to regain the two-goal advantage once more.
With a pair of red sweaters patrolling the slot and without an Oiler in sight, Nick Leddy's on-the-ice point blast was redirected home by Montador to put the Blackhawks up 3-1 on their 10th shot at 16:11.
The Blackhawks' 3-1 lead carried into the intermission, along with a 10-8 lead on the shot clock.
In a goal similar to Smyth's opening period marker, Toews scored his second of the night to put Chicago up 4-1 only 22 seconds into the period; he skated in along the goal-line and slid a shot toward a cheating Khabibulin. The puck escaped the veteran's grasp and eventually pinpalled into the cage.
Ex-Hawk Ben Eager broke in on a partial 2-on-1 with Petrell and, while his attempt was not converted, he did draw a penalty. The Oilers' 17.2-percent power-play went to work when Chicago's Rostislav Olesz was charged with holding at 2:28.
The Oilers struggled to maintain possession on the man-advantage and gave the chance up with 22 seconds remaining in Olesz's minor when Joredan Eberle was called for high-sticking at 4:07, putting the teams in a quick 4-on-4 situation prior to Chicago's second power-play attempt.
Just as Eberle's minor expired, No. 14 skated out and lunged toward a loose puck when Duncan Keith bumbled the disc at the blueline; Eberle collected the puck near his own bench, skated in along and out-waited the netminder with a clever move to make it a 4-2 game.
In a hurry, the Blackhawks replied to go up by three once more. Keith, making amends for his ill-timed error on Eberle's goal, blasted a shot that eluded bodies and a deep-in-his-crease Khabibulin to make it a 5-2 game at 7:47.
Trailing by three on the scoreboard and 16-12 in shots, the Oilers' power-play hit the ice for a second time at 9:23 when Patrick Kane was charged with high-sticking. The chance passed without incident and the game remained in a 5-2 score, favouring the home side.
The man-advantage tables turned once more at 15:01 when Ryan Smyth was assessed a tripping minor. The Blackhawks peppered Khabibulin with three high-quality shots, but were unable to cash.
With 1:59 on the clock, Ryan Smyth appeared to pull the Oilers back into the game with a crash-and-bang goal, but the referee deemed the puck to be covered, blowing the play dead. On the same sequence, however, the Oilers went back to the power-play when Viktor Stalberg was charged with unsportsmanlike conduct.
And on the orange and blue's third power-play chance, a goal was scored. The Oilers' captain cashed on the doorstep, pulling the Oilers back into the game at 19:15.
With 40 minutes expired, the Oilers trailed by two and were down 21-16 in shots.
The period's best chance came near the seven-minute mark as Chicago's Bryan Bickell danced inside-out on Corey Potter across the crease. His was denied by Khabibulin, preserving his team's two-goal disadvantage.
A mid-ice collision between Ladislav Smid and Lennart Petrell near the nine-minute mark allowed Patrick Kane to split the D and rush in alone, but Khabibulin came up big once more with a blocker-side save.
With 7:43 remaining, Theo Peckham picked up a holding minor, putting the Hawks' 1-for-3 power-play on the ice. The visitors did come up big, mind you, pushing the game's 5-3 score into the waning minutes.
Khabibulin was pulled with 1:50 to play, but Kane made short work of the gaping cage, passing to Dan Carcillo for the tap-in to make it 6-3. As the buzzer sounded, the Oilers were downed 6-3 while giving up a 34-23 shot advantage in the team's third straight loss.