By Brad Vandenberk
After beating the Canucks with two goals over just 9 seconds on Saturday night, the Blackhawks were off to Edmonton to continue the western Canadian leg of their circus road trip. The local Edmonton papers all had the Oilers with the slight edge heading into this contest. It seems that the capital of Alberta must be missing something here. The Hawks just edged the Oilers at the UC just weeks ago. Michal Handzus was welcomed back to the lineup after coming off the IR. Marian Hossa was still missing in action due to a family reason back in Chicago. He is rumoured to be joining the Hawks when they cruise down highway 2 to Calgary on Tuesday.
Corey Crawford got the start again, and the NHL 3rd star of the week Devin Dubnyk was between the pipes for the home team. Sheldon Brookbank worked his way back to his defensive position with Michal Rozsival sitting this one out.
The Oilers looked good right off the hop. Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner break in on a 2 on 1 and Crawford steers the rebound to Gagner who misses the net. The Oilers get an early power play attempt when Ben Smith gets busted for tripping. 50 seconds into the power play, Toews takes advantage of an Oiler D man`s carless play on the blue line and breaks away shorthanded. He fakes back hand and Dubbie bites, while on his belly, Toews sends it to the top of the net 1-0. The Hawks picked up the pace and came back at the Oilers using their speed and puck possession. Considering Dubnyk was a star of the week, even his team was trying to stop pucks in the crease. Boyd Gordon heads to the penalty box giving the Hawks their first power play of the game. Just 35 seconds into the man advantage, Patrick Kane continues his point streak grabbing a loose puck on the edge of the crease and beating Dubnyk 2-0. This extended Kane`s point streak to 11 games. Nick Leddy is the next victim shown to the sin bin for interference. Nail Yakupov rips a shot, but Crawford makes the save. Oilers spend more time working it around and the crowd lets them know about it. Oilers think they score as the goal light illuminates, but the puck does not cross the line. Justin Schultz finishes the period in the box for a high stick but the Hawks are unable to add to their lead. The period ends with the Hawks outshooting the Oil 12-6.
Just 1:28 into the middle frame, Johnny Oduya sends a shot on net. Dubbie makes the save but it deflects off Cory Potter and past the goal line 3-0. Not even 4 minutes later, Jeremy Morin, Andrew Shaw and Kris Versteeg break in on a 3 on 1. Morin keeps the puck long enough for the Oilers D to hit the ice and he sends a pass over to Shaw who taps it home giving the Hawks a 4-0 lead. That would be the end for Dubnyk as he is replaced by Ilya Bryzgalov to the delight of the home crowd. The awkward gears continue when Bryzer sends a shot 200 feet on Crawford. The newly required net minder must have lit a fire under the Oil as Justin Schultz rifles a shot from the top of the circle beating Crawford over the blocker. Finally The Rexall Center gets something to cheer about. Right after the goal the Hawks come back at the Oilers. This caused Andrew Ference to take a tripping call sending the Hawks on their 3rd power play of the night. Bryzer stayed sharp and the period ends with the Hawks holding the slight shot advantage 17-14.
Just over 3 minutes into the final period, Brookbank heads to the box for tripping. This has the Oiler faithful thinking that they have a chance to cut into the lead. Crawford doesn’t look any bit fatigued as he robs Jordan Eberle point blank. Toews gets another shorthanded chance breaking in one on one but has the puck swatted away. Oduya blocks a shot and struggles to get back to his feet, as he heads to the bench hammering his stick off the ice but remained in the game. The Oilers can`t catch a break as a puck sits on the edge of the post and no one is there to poke it home. Ryan Nugent – Hopkins beats Crawford with a nice move, but Crawsome gets a small piece of it and sends it wide. Crawford shows of his acrobatics, as a puck trickles over his head and he spins around blocker-ing it over the net. Hawks seem to begin to toy with the Oil, when Hemsky can`t keep up with their speed tripping up Versteeg. During the power play Shaw clearly kicks the puck past Bryzer but it gets waived off immediately. Crawford shows off his patented sprawling glove save adding insult to injury. Finally Shaw gets his stick in the right place tipping Leddy`s point shot beating Bryzer. The game ends with the Hawks claiming victory 5-1 and extending their circus road trip to 3-1.
Sharp Toews Saad Keith Seabrook
Handzus Pirri Kane Oduya Hjalmarsson
Versteeg Shaw Morin Leddy Brookbank
Smith Kruger Boillig
-Hawks narrowly take the shot advantage 27-25.
-Hawks go 1 for 4 on the power play with the Oilers going 0 for 3
-Duncan Keith led all Hawks with 24:36 in TOI. Handzus logged 12:57 on his first game back.
-Toews goes 10 for 18 in the faceoff dot, Pirri 4 for 6, Handzus 5 for 9, Shaw 1 for 8, and Kruger 5 for 11.
-3 Stars – 1) Keith (2A) 2) Toews (1G SH) 3) Shaw (2G 1A).
-Hawks continue their road trip with some revenge in mind as they take on the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.