The Chicago Blackhawks turned things around in a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
In the 500th consecutive sellout at the United Center, the Chicago Blackhawks needed a full 60-minute performance against a red hot Edmonton Oilers.
The Blackhawks did not disappoint with a 3-1 victory to improve to 1-2-1 on the season, by shutting down the leagues most electric player, Connor McDavid.
The game was a bit of a goaltending duel for the start, until the second period when Patrick Kane potted a goal on a quick wrist shot. It was a much-needed goal for the Blackhawks, who by far put together their best second period of the season.
Another big moment in this game was an Andrew Shaw hit on Oilers forward, Joel Persson, that led to a Blackhawks power-play. Shaw played the role of spark-plug once again tonight and it paid off big time for the ‘Hawks, as they were under the skin of the Oilers, specifically their top forwards, all game long.
The Blackhawks dominated the second period, outshooting the Oilers 17-6, but the score was only 1-0. The ‘Hawks needed a shutdown period and they delivered.
While the Oilers had their share of chances in the third period, the Blackhawks were much better at clearing traffic out of Corey Crawford‘s way. A big moment came when Alexander Nylander made a defensive play in his own zone, which led to him scoring the insurance goal through Mike Smith‘s five-hole. This was a big game for Nylander after being scratched against the Jets and he looked good in his limited ice-time.
With under three minutes to go in the game, Dominik Kubalik committed a hooking minor which led to a James Neal goal during 6-on-4 play. It was a rough defensive play from Brent Seabrook, who was one of the only issues during this game. Minutes later, Brandon Saad put home an empty-netter that secured a 3-1 win for the Chicago Blackhawks.
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Corey Crawford put together a vintage performance. Crawford saved 27 of 28 Oilers’ shots, as he begins to silence his critics from the beginning of the season. Mike Smith for the Oilers also played a solid game, keeping the Oilers in it for the majority of the evening.
Brandon Saad also stood out in this game, as he has had a solid start to the season. The biggest thing for Saad is that he’s playing his two-way game again and using his speed to cut into defenses. He really deserved the empty-netter tonight. Another forward who stood out was Ryan Carpenter. Carpenter played great on the penalty kill, which took a massive step forward tonight as a unit.
The defense was another big story from tonight, as the pairings of Duncan Keith with Connor Murphy and Erik Gustafsson with Calvin de Haan looked solid. They took away chances from the Oilers and protected the puck. The pairing of Brent Seabrook and Oli Maatta did not look as good tonight, as they allowed McDavid to skate around them at will when they were on the ice.
This was the total team effort the Blackhawks really needed to right the ship, especially defensively. They have a chance to get back to .500 against the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday night.