Oilers deliver second-consecutive loss to Blackhawks

With NHL phenom Connor McDavid out for the next 2-3 weeks and only a six-point cushion between both teams, the stakes were incredibly high for both the Edmonton Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks last night.

After a Duncan Keith turnover, Riley Sheahan would open the scoring just over the one-minute mark of the game, capitalizing on yet another slow start for the Blackhawks. Keith had turned the puck over to Josh Archibald, who quickly transitioned up-ice with Zack Kassian, setting up Sheahan’s easy tap-in.

The Blackhawks’ two most consistent players would answer five minutes later, as Brandon Saad would capitalize on a beautiful pass by Patrick Kane to tie the game 1-1.

While shorthanded, Jonathan Toews would give the Hawks their first of two blown leads of the game with just under six minutes to go in the first. Toews and defenseman Olli Maatta were able to win a board battle just beneath the Hawks’ blue line, resulting in a quick 2-on-1 rush with Ryan Carpenter, who found Toews for the one-timer.

Kailer Yamamoto would tie the game for Vancouver late in the period on the power play. Toews had mistakenly been called by the trailing official for a trip on Riley Sheahan, even though video replay would show Sheahan tripping over the skate of the linesman.

Like Saad, rookie Adam Boqvist would become the beneficiary of yet another spectacular play by Patrick Kane, who fired a perfectly placed backhand pass through two Edmonton defenders to set-up the go-ahead goal.

 

The Hawks’ 3-2 lead would be short-lived however, with Kailer Yamamoto scoring his second goal of the night just two minutes later. After initially stopping a shot by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Blackhawk goalie Robin Lehner had failed to secure the puck, with Yamamoto capitalizing on the loose change. Nugent-Hopkins would add a goal of his own on the power play after yet another rebound by Lehner, who had an uncharacteristically off night. In addition to his three assists in the game, Leon Draisaitl would add an empty-net goal with three seconds left, solidifying the crucial victory for Edmonton.

Hawk forward Dylan Strome was a healthy scratch for the first time since being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes. Alex Nylander — who had been a healthy scratch one game prior — replaced Strome. After making his debut last game in Winnipeg, defenseman Nick Seeler was also a healthy scratch last night in favor of Adam Boqvist, who had missed one game due to a shoulder injury.

With this latest loss, the Blackhawks have failed to begin a critical five-game Canadian road trip on the right foot, registering an 0-2-0 record with three games remaining. The team will have little time to dwell on the loss, as they are scheduled to face the Vancouver Canucks tonight at 9 p.m. CST. The Vegas Golden Knights and the Arizona Coyotes are both six points above the Blackhawks for the Wild Card race, with Winnipeg, Minnesota and Nashville currently ahead of the Hawks in the standings.

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