The Blackhawks lost another tough game last night, falling to the Oilers by a score of 5-3.
This scoring opened up quickly in this game when Duncan Keith's ill-advised pinch resulted in an Oilers' odd-man rush, at the end of which Riley Sheahan pounded a rebound past Robin Lehner just 1:13 into the first period.
With just under seven minutes to play in the first period, the Blackhawks got caught with too many men on the ice, sending the Oilers to the power play. Typically, this would be a rather bone-headed penalty to take, but the Hawks managed to turn it in their favor when Ryan Carpenter set up Jonathan Toews for a one-timer that put the Hawks in front by a score of 2-1.
With less than four minutes left in the first period, Jonathan Toews was called for a tripping penalty even though it was the linesman who picked the skate of an Oilers' player. This penalty kill was not as lucky as the previous go-around for the Hawks. At the 17:18 mark of the opening period, Kailer Yamamoto elevated a rebound chance past Lehner to tie this game at two. This score would remain the same after the 20 minutes of play.
The theme of opening the frame quickly continued into the second when Kane fed another beauty of an assist over to Adam Boqvist, who buried it past Mike Smith to make it 3-2 in favor of Chicago just 105 seconds into the middle stanza.
The back-and-forth rambled on when Kailer Yamamoto tallied his second goal of the evening only 3:38 into the second period.
About four minutes went by, and then Zack Smith was sent to the penalty box for slashing, which was a questionable call. Less than a minute later, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his 15th goal of the season to put the Oilers ahead 4-3.
At 9:07 into the second, Riley Sheahan was called for holding, but the Blackhawks power play couldn't get rolling, continuing this season's theme.
At the 12:12 mark of the middle frame, Oscar Klefbom hooked Kane to send the Hawks back to the power play. Yet again, Chicago could not capitalize on the opportunity. The Oilers held a 4-3 lead after two periods of action.
The Blackhawks knew they needed to step on the gas heading into the final 20 minutes. For once in this contest, we didn't see a period beginning like a bat out of hell. At the 4:12 mark, Riley Sheahan was sent to the box for slashing Boqvist. Unlike prior man advantages, the Hawks were able to generate a ton of scoring opportunities, but the end result remained the same as they still could not solve Mike Smith.
The rest of the period was scoreless except for an empty-net goal by Leon Draisaitl with 0:02 left on the clock. This period was not without scoring chances, as the Hawks outshot the Oilers 18-5, held a 5-2 advantage in 5-on-5 scoring chances, and put together four high-danger chances at even strength while limiting Edmonton to just one. The Hawks looked every bit hungry, but it just wasn't enough to complete a comeback victory.
Robin Lehner made a few key saves throughout this contest but was only able to stop 26 of Edmonton's 30 shots on goal, resulting in a .867 save percentage and another tally in the loss column.
The Hawks now hold an 0-2-2 record over their last four games, losing out on crucial points in the standings every step along the way. They will be back in action tonight in Vancouver, where Corey Crawford will likely start in net.
For further analysis of last night's contest and a preview of tonight's tilt, be sure to listen to the latest Blackhawks On Tap postgame show, a production of the Four Feathers Podcast.