EDMONTON, AB - The visiting Chicago Blackhawks piled up the goals, downing the Oilers by a score of 7-1.
“It’s on us,” Oilers winger Taylor Hall said. “It’s our fault as players and we’re going to have to make up for that.”
The Blackhawks flexed their offensive muscles early when their leading scorer Jonathan Toews buried the game’s first goal just 3:48 into the game. Toews slipped past the Oilers and used a great deke to score on Ben Scrivens. Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa recorded the assists.
Chicago took a 2-0 lead at 4:43 of the first period. The Oilers lost the puck in the corner and Marcus Kruger put home a shot past the shoulder of Scrivens. Ben Smith and Joakim Nordstrom each got assists on the goal.
“We come out there, the Chicago Blackhawks are here, the players were energized, our fans were energized,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “They dropped the puck, there was great energy on the ice but when the first two shots of the game go in the net, that will suck the life out of a team that has been struggling and trying to get through this. There are a lot of things you go through in your life to mentally get through and that is extremely hard for a team to get through. We couldn’t recover tonight.”
The first period was relatively lacking in shots, but the Blackhawks made the most of the ones they got through. Brent Seabrook blasted a shot from the point for Chicago’s third goal, at 15:56 of the opening period. Hossa and Toews recorded the assists.
In the second, the Blackhawks took a 4-0 lead at 1:16 on a 5-on-3 power play. Toews scored his second of the night and was assisted by Kris Versteeg and Patrick Kane.
Chicago took a 5-0 lead at 2:45 of the second, on the power play. Hossa buried a rebound, assisted by Bryan Bickell and Adam Clendening.
The Oilers made a switch in net after that goal, replacing Scrivens with Viktor Fasth.
Chicago continued their offensive show with a goal by Duncan Keith at 3:50 of the middle frame. Keith’s slap shot goal was assisted by Daniel Carcillo and Saad. The goal gave the Blackhawks an even more commanding 6-0 lead.
Halfway through the second period, tempers started to flare. Oilers defenceman Keith Aulie hammered Ben Smith into the boards with a big hit, which caused brief chaos near the penalty boxes. Taylor Hall was involved, coming to the defence of Aulie. Marcus Kruger took a four minute roughing penalty and Aulie got two for the same.
Kane gave Chicago the 7-1 lead at 10:58 of the third. Kane scored off a 2-on-1 rush, with Versteeg and Niklas Hjalmarsson getting the assists.
That would be the final score as Chicago win their fifth in a row against the Oilers.
“We’ve got to find a way to not get too frustrated or else the negativity really seeps into your game,” Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “It just makes things a lot worse and I know the past few years there have been instances where it has been like that. We’ve shown a lot more promise this year than in the past couple of years, I know that for sure. We’ve just got to find a way to get ourselves motivated and get back on track. We can’t let the negativity come into our game.”
The Oilers now hit the road for three-straight games, beginning Tuesday in Dallas.