Oilers vs Blackhawks like Oil and Water as Oilers down Hawks 4-3
With the first game in the New Year the Chicago Blackhawks were looking to continue their winning ways from December. The last time they played the Oilers in Edmonton it was a complete debacle in Alberta. This however is the season of resolutions and after some soul searching as a team and a new year I thought would bring a new result but I was wrong.
The Blackhawks needed to stay out of the penalty box as the Edmonton Oilers have a good power play and rank fourth overall in the NHL but just couldn’t do it. I was also looking for improvement on the Blackhawks power play and continued stellar defense as the previous games with Edmonton were high scoring but neither of these happened which hurt the Hawks as well.
In nets for the Blackhawks was Corey Crawford and Devan Dubnyk for the Oilers. Again Crawford will get the loss but it certainly was not because of him or his play.
Marcus Kruger, Sean O”Donnell and Steve Montador were out so Lepisto was in with Scott in the defensive pairings for the Blackhawks. Out of the line-up for the Oilers was Barker, Fedun, Plante and Whitney.
The beginning of the first period I would have to give to the Oilers and when Carcillo went to the penalty box I thought it was going to be a disaster for the Hawks little did I know the worst was yet to come but they killed off this penalty without incident and seemed to infuse some energy into the Hawks.
Say what you want about Carcillo but he is like Jekell and Hyde and your never sure which will show up. This time it was good Carcillo. He has a knack of opening space on the ice for his line mates. This time he muscled his way to pass the puck perfectly to Toews who got maybe an easy goal past Dubnyk in the slot area. No denying Toews is red hot with 22 goals and the first team goal in 2012. He could possibly hit the 50 goal mark as he certainly is on track to. Ryan Nugent Hopkins left the game and did not return.
Late in the period Crawford stopped a Ryan Jones breakaway shot and kept the Hawks ahead of the Oilers 1-0. Period was pretty even with SOG at 10 apiece, blocks at 5 aside and penalties at one each. Faceoffs went to the Oilers 9-7.
The second period saw bad Daniel Carcillo push Tom Gilbert with a violent hit of which I’m not sure if Carcillo didn’t get the worst of the collision. Not a very smart play and one that turned the momentum of the entire game. The last thing the Hawks wanted to do was to give a potent Oilers power play any chances let alone one for five minutes. Needless to say, he will also be getting a call from Brendan Shanahan and probably a suspension.
They immediately scored by Ryan Smyth with just 16 seconds elapsed and they continued on the power play 1-1 tie. Then on the same power play Hjalmarsson got high sticked by Hall which was not called and Taylor Hall put one past Crawford still with over a minute left on the power play 2-1 Oilers.
Call it Karma or Kismet or whatever it’s only fitting after the Hawks killed the five minute major Hjalmarsson had a blast from the point that was tipped by Brunette. An assist also went to Kane but the goal had the teams at a 2-2 tie. Then with a defensive breakdown Sutton was all alone in front of the Hawks net and scored 3-2.
Of course the third period started with an Oilers power play but the Hawks killed it. The third saw more defensive breakdowns because the defensemen were trying to jump into the play offensively which cost them another goal by of all people former Hawk Ben Eager when Seabrook got caught on the wrong side of the blue line 4-2 Oilers.
The Hawks got a four minute power play of their own but could not cash in. Are you surprised? The Hawks power play is completely useless and needs reworking. Everyone has studied them and knows what to expect. There were too many passes and not enough shots on goal during the power play. Also I want to see more blasts from the point from Seabrook and Keith if nothing else they may give big rebounds to the forwards, just a thought.
Jimmy Hayes did score full strength because he was not trying to be too fancy. He just tried to get the puck to the net which went in. Congratulations kid on your first of hopefully many NHL goals. Then with a goaltender interference call the Hawks got another power play of course they didn’t score on it.
The game was lost though in the second period when the tide turned with penalties and too many give aways. The Hawks had four penalties resulting in 19 minutes which turned out to be the deciding factor in the game. The defensive breakdowns and lack of discipline were back again and apparent in this one that and the horrendous power play which got boo’d by the UC crowd also contributed in a bad way to the loss.
Last time the Hawks played the Oilers up in Edmonton it served as a wakeup call for the Hawks let’s hope this one has the same effect and the new year does not continue in this fashion. The Blackhawks will have some time to think about this one as they will not play again til Thursday.
Three stars of the game – 3) Toews 2) Hall 1) Smyth
Hawks next play again Thursday @ the Wells Fargo Center in Phildadelphia vs. the Flyers which can be caught on CSN or WGN Radio 720. Start time is early at 6:00 pm CT
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