EDMONTON, Alberta – Rexall Place has been a fortress of horrors for the Chicago Blackhawks in some past games. On Monday night, however, they made it their personal funhouse.
Jonathan Toews scored a shorthanded goal just over five minutes into the game, and Andrew Shaw had two goals and an assist as the Blackhawks beat the Oilers 5-1 at Rexall Place on Monday night. It was the third consecutive victory for the Blackhawks, who ended the evening as the NHL’s best team (17-4-4, 38 points).
Patrick Kane scored a power-play goal, which proved to be the game-winner, to extend his point streak to 11 consecutive games. It was just a productive night for the Blackhawks overall as they collected a 2-0 lead barely eight minutes into the first period.
“It was a great start,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We get a shorthanded goal and they’ve got a red-hot power play. That got us off on the right foot. Special teams put us in a good spot. Across the board, we did what we were looking to do.”
Duncan Keith and Brandon Saad each tallied two assists. Corey Crawford stopped 24-of-25 to earn his NHL-leading 16th victory. It was another strong road game for a Blackhawks team that’s getting on a roll.
“It’s always a little different on the road,” Keith said. “It’s last change and the other team has the fans behind them. We’re doing a good job right now of taking it one game at a time and focusing on our game.”
The Blackhawks were passing crisp, skating hard and occupying the Oilers’ zone plenty on Monday night. No, they didn’t have a ton of shots, but they didn’t need a ton. They were efficient, scoring five times on 27 shots and taking advantage of any opportunity – or deflection – the Oilers gave them.
Just 88 seconds into the second period, Johnny Oduya’s shot actually went off Edmonton defenseman Corey Potter and past goaltender Devan Dubnyk for a 3-0 lead. Then Shaw’s first goal came off a slick pass from Jeremy Morin for a 4-0 advantage. That was it for Dubnyk, who allowed four on 14 shots, as Ilya Bryzgalov made his season and Oilers debut 5:49 into the second period.
While Justin Schultz assured the Oilers they wouldn’t get shut out with his goal 8:08 into the second, the Blackhawks just continued to work. They were getting a little something from everyone, as 10 different Blackhawks landed on the score sheet.
“I think we got back to our systems,” Shaw said. “We’re rolling all four (lines). Everyone’s bringing energy and the chemistry through all four lines has been amazing.”
The Blackhawks are back to playing their type of hockey. They’re getting chemistry among their lines, solid defense and goaltending. The Edmonton demon got to them in the past. Looks like they’ve exorcised it.
“We’re just getting the full team effort. That’s one of the biggest things,” Ben Smith said. “Guys are competing, contributing. When we have four lines rolling and six defensemen and Corey standing tall in there, we’re a tough team to beat.”
Quenneville said Marian Hossa is expected to join the Blackhawks in Calgary tomorrow.
Antti Raanta could get the goaltending start against the Calgary Flames. Quenneville said the staff “will talk about it tomorrow.”
Michal Handzus, playing his first game since Oct. 24, logged 12:57 of ice time. He won five of nine faceoffs.