The Blackhawks returned to the ice after their bye week looking to keep a five-game win streak alive with the Oilers in town. History wasn’t in their favor. Only three of the 14 teams to take their bye week earned a victory in their first game back.
The Hawks didn’t fare any better.
Despite outshooting Edmonton 39-22, a few mistakes led to a 3-1 loss at the United Center.
Here’s how it happened.
The Hawks made it clear they weren’t going to let their five-day vacation slow them down. Chicago went on the attack early on, dominating possession stats and drawing two penalties in the process. Though it didn’t convert either power play, it wasn’t from a lack of effort. Nick Schmaltz fired a laser of a pass to Marian Hossa on the first penalty that went right off the post. A little while later, Patrick Kane hit Artemi Panarin with a one-time pass that the Russian put wide. Panarin had another attempt on net that hit the post soon after. Ten minutes into the first period, the Hawks were outshooting Edmonton 8-1, they would finish the frame up 12-4 in shots on goal, and 30-10 in shot attempts.
Chicago finally put the puck in the back of the net early in the second period — unfortunately it happened to be the one Corey Crawford was protecting. With the Oilers on the power play, Matt Benning threw a pass to the crease that went off Trevor van Riemsdyk’s skate and into the Hawks’ goal for a 1-0 lead.
The power play was the result of Ryan Hartman going after Eric Gryba for a hard hit on Tanner Kero. Hartman was given a two-minute instigator penalty and a 10-minute misconduct. The Oilers were outshooting the Hawks 7-1 through the first 10 minutes in a complete reversal from the first period. The Hawks bounced back in the final 10 minutes and ended up outshooting Edmonton 16-9. Even still, they couldn’t breakthrough on Cam Talbot. That was despite numerous chances from Kane, Panarin and Anisimov in the slot.
Shortly after the Hawks came up empty on their third power play of the night, Milan Lucic added another goal for the Oilers at the 10-minute mark with a wrist shot from the right face-off dot. The puck beat Crawford five-hole.
The Hawks answered with 4:47 left in regulation, as Jonathan Toews fed Richard Panik in front of the net to cut the lead to 2-1. Panik used a couple of dekes to get Talbot scrambling before roofing a shot over the goalie. The assist gave Toews his 600th career point.
With 2:10 left in regulation, Chicago pulled Crawford, earning a few looks on Talbot, but ultimately leading to a McDavid empty-netter to go up 3-1.
SCH 3 Stars
1. Matt Benning (1 goal, 1 assist)
2. Milan Lucic (1 goal)
3. Richard Panik (1 goal)
The Hawks travel to Buffalo on Sunday for their second game in as many nights. They’ll take on the Sabres at 5 p.m. before heading out to Minnesota for Tuesday night showdown with the Wild.