CHICAGO, IL – After an inspired effort through three periods and overtime, the Oilers dropped a 2-1 shootout heartbreaker to the Blackhawks.
It was a goaltending duel with Ben Scrivens making 38 saves and Corey Crawford making 46.
“Guys were good tonight,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “All 20 guys played hard, starting with Benny. He had an outstanding game. Our whole team played well. I thought it was a game where we had opportunities that we could maybe score some goals. Crawford played outstanding, so it was just a good hockey game to watch. I think it was a lot of fun for the fans.”
Derek Roy opened the scoring with under five minutes remaining in the first. Nail Yakupov fed Roy all alone in the slot. The veteran centre skillfully spun in place, whipping a shot in as Chicago’s goaltender Crawford was drawn out to the side of the netting. The goal was Roy’s first since February 14, in Ottawa.
The Oilers, in four of their previous five games, managed to register under 25 shots on goal. They outshot Chicago 18-12 in the first period. Their 47 shots for the game was their second highest total of the season and more than their previous two games combined (45).
Scrivens was solid in goal from the start. He made a big save on Patrick Sharp, who had a breakaway seven minutes into the second period.
Scrivens made his fair share of big saves in that frame, including one in close on Jonathan Toews in the closing minutes of the second period.
“I thought our d-men did a really good job,” Scrivens said. “We had some huge blocks by our guys. Marty Marincin blocked one in the first period that was almost an open net. We had blocks up top too. You’ve got to give credit to our d-men too. They allowed me to see shots and fight. I had room in my crease to move around and try to make stops on second and third opportunities but that’s all a direct result of how hard the d-men were playing in front.”
With under four minutes to play in the second, the Oilers line of Teddy Purcell, Roy and Yakupov hemmed some of the Blackhawks top guns in their own zone for a healthy amount of time. The result was a few scoring opportunities but no goal as the Oilers took a 1-0 lead into the third.
“Execution, effort,” Roy said of what he liked in the game. “I think effort is number one. Everyone worked really hard and we cared a lot for each other out there and blocked a lot of shots. It was a playoff game out there. We need to keep making strides, keep making steps in the right direction and keep getting efforts like that.”
A Brent Seabrook shot from the point found twine behind Scrivens at 13:58 of the third period to tie the game. Toews and Marian Hossa had the assists. Scrivens was screened on the play by a couple of teammates trying to block the shot.
Scrivens shut the door the rest of the way and the game went to overtime, and eventually a shootout.
Unfortunately, Scrivens stopped all but one Chicago shooter and that was enough to seal the comeback win for the Blackhawks. Antoine Vermette snuck the puck underneath the Oilers goaltender for the lone goal and the win in the third round of the shootout.