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Love On Top: Blackhawks 4, Oilers 1

The Blackhawks actually played somewhat well and had a dominant line. Huh?

Chicago Blackhawks v Edmonton Oilers
Evander Kane of the Edmonton Oilers plays against Marc-Andre Fleury and Calvin de Haan of the Chicago Blackhawks
Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Today was a good day.

The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-1, with the power play proving to be almost limitless against the Oilers, scoring two goals.

The Blackhawks began the scoring on a power-play opportunity just 1:15 into the game, as Sam Lafferty drew the penalty. Off a delightful pass from Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat scored his 27th goal of the season:

The Blackhawks would get another passing clinic leading to a goal a little over a minute, as DeBrincat did his own playmaking, leading to a Brandon Hagel goal:

The Oilers kept Marc-Andre Fleury busy to start the second period, as Edmonton got 21 shot attempts and 13 scoring chances in the second period at 5-on-5, eventually scoring on the power play as Leon Draisaitl found the back of the net with Fleury lying on the ice while protecting the net with his stick.

The Blackhawks started the third period on the power play once more, as Draisaitl went to the box for interference against DeBrincat, and Dylan Strome scored:

Kirby Dach scored the Blackhawks’ fourth goal later in the third period, as a shot from Connor Murphy rebounded, and eventually found its way to Hagel, who set Dach up at net-front:

The Blackhawks headed back to the power play once more before the end of the game, as Evander Kane interfered with Fleury, but that would be it, as the Blackhawks won 4-1.

Notes

  • The Blackhawks played a very close game in the first period, with 1.14 expected goals to 0.82 against, and generated four high-danger chances to the Oilers’ two at 5-on-5. Chicago spent just 29 seconds on the power play in the first period, getting and requiring just one shot. That was a large part of the difference in this game.
  • The power play was actually good, for once. The Blackhawks had five shots (each shot attempt being on net), 0.41 expected goals and two actual goals in 3:07. Even in their lone unconverted power play, the Blackhawks had two shots and 0.12 expected goals.
  • That second period was rough, however. Compared to the Oilers’ 21 shot attempts at 5-on-5, the Blackhawks had just seven, and 0.27 expected goals at 5-on-5 as compared to 0.94 against. That was the most the Blackhawks allowed to the Oilers at 5-on-5 in a period this game.
  • Fleury had a hell of a game. Forty saves in his return from the All-Star break, including nine from high danger, facing 3.89 expected goals against. His lone goal against came from just two feet away when he was as out of the play as he was the entire game.
  • The line of DeBrincat, Hagel and Dach completely dominated, with 0.66 expected goals and 0.07 against, as well as three high-danger chances to zero against and eight shots for to two against in 9:22 together at 5-on-5. The line scored the Blackhawks’ two goals at 5-on-5.
  • The line of Strome, Kane and Dominik Kubalik was alright in terms of quality — 55.41 xGF percent — but awful in terms of quantity — 29.63 CF%.
  • No skater played more than 21:31 for the Blackhawks, which was the total achieved by Connor Murphy. In a pretty dominant win, at least on the scoreboard, the Blackhawks were able to use all talent somewhat equally, although once more: play Philipp Kurashev more (Kurashev played the least of any Blackhawks skater).

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — 1 G, 2 A
  2. Brandon Hagel (CHI) — 1 G, 1 A
  3. Marc-Andre Fleury (CHI) — 40 SV, 3.89 xGA

What’s next

The Blackhawks continue their road trip, heading to St. Louis on Saturday to take on the Blues at 7 p.m.