Edmonton: The Blackhawks' House of Horrors
The last time the Chicago Blackhawks played against the Oilers in Edmonton, they gave up 9 goals in an embarrassing loss.
It wasn't quite as bad on Thursday night, but it wasn't much better either, as the Oilers beat the Blackhawks for the third time this season, 8-4.
Things started off beautifully for Chicago. Jamal Mayers scored on a wrister seven minutes into the game to put the Hawks up 1-0. The Blackhawks dominated the first period in front of goalie Corey Crawford. Then 40 ticks into the 2nd period, Patrick Sharp sent a blast past Devan Dubnyk to put the Hawks up 2-0.
Then the wheels came off, momentarily, and Sam Gagner happened.
Taylor Hall got the Oilers on the board 1:42 after Sharp's snipe with an assist by Gagner. Five minutes later, Gagner tied things up at 2-2. Five minutes after that, Ryan Whitney sent a shot past a screened Crawford on the power play to give the Oilers the lead. Gagner got the only assist on Whitney's firsy goal of the season.
The Blackhawks looked down and out, especially after Brent Seabrook got sent to the box for a trip. But after a nice blocked shot by Niklas Hjalmarsson, he hit Toews streaking through the neutral zone for a shorthanded 2-on-1. Toews waited and waited and finally took a shot on Dubnyk. The rebound came right on to the stick of Patrick Sharp who slammed it home into the empty net to tie it at 3-3.
A late power play gave the Blackhawks some hope going into the 3rd period. Then Sam Gagner happened again.
Gagner scored his 2nd of the game early in the 3rd to give the Oilers the 4-3 lead. Then a minute later, former Blackhawk Cam Barker floated a puck in on net and Corey Crawford completely whiffed on it with his glove, making it 5-3. Crawford was pulled in favor of Ray Emery. Gagner got the only assist on the Barker goal.
At 5-3, the Blackhawks looked to crawl their way back in as Marcus Kruger sent a shot off Dubnyk and Dave Bolland jumped on the rebound to backhand it through Dubnyk's five-hole to make it 5-4.
Then Sam Gagner happened once more.
28 seconds after the Bolland goal, Taylor Hall found Gagner streaking in on the net and Gagner got it past Emery to make it 6-4, giving him a hat trick on the night. The Oilers had 6 goals. Sam Gagner had 3 goals and 3 assists. And he wasn't done.
He scored his 4th goal of the night on an easy tap-in after another beautiful Jordan Eberle assist. 1:22 later, Eberle made it 8-4. Guess who got an assist? If you guessed Sam Gagner, you guessed correctly.
Eight Oilers goals. Gagner had 4 goals and 4 assists on the night. He joined Paul Coffey and some guy named Gretzky as the only Oilers to score 8 points in one night.
In their two games at the Rexall Place this season, the Blackhawks have given up 17 goals.
The Blackhawks need to put this one behind them, and quickly. The nine game road trip isn't going to get any shorter. Luckily, they can move on Friday night as they take on the Calgary Flames. How they respond to tonight's game will say a lot about the team's makeup.
Tonight, however, the team will have nightmares of Sam Gagner.
NOTE: The Oilers officially awarded Sam Gagner with all 3 stars on the night.
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