Sunday's matchup at the United Center featured the Western Conference's best and worst teams.
But when it comes to the Blackhawks and Oilers, the standings don't matter. Because Edmonton -- despite playing their eighth consecutive road game and being shut out in their previous two contests -- still skated into the United Center and took a 4-0 lead by the end of the first period.
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"It was awesome, we took a lot of pride before the game in how we were gonna come out and play, the things we were gonna do and the intensity we were going to play with," said Oilers forward Taylor Hall after his team's 6-5 win. "We showed a lot of those things. For us to come out and take a 4-0 lead over the Blackhawks, the best team in the league, is great for us."
Hall described Sunday's matchup and a "game-breaker" and a "now-or-never moment" for the Oilers. Edmonton held a players-only meeting on Saturday to help motivate the team again after a tough five-game losing streak, and that mentality clearly showed in their performance Sunday.
"We wanted to play with emotion, we wanted to play a simple game and make sure we play the right way," said Oilers center Sam Gagner. "We really did that in the first (period) and it showed on the scoreboard."
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Last season, the Oilers outscored the Blackhawks 24-15 and won three of the four matchups these two teams played against each other. Gagner -- after recording an 8-point game against the Blackhawks last season -- scored two of the Oilers' six goals on Sunday. But the Edmonton forward credits his teammates for his success.
"[The Blackhawks] are a great team and those are the games you like to get up for," Gagner said. "I think our team in general plays hard against them and individually, it allows you to have a little more success."
As the Oilers leave the United Center energized and ready to take on the Avalanche on Tuesday, the Blackhawks will be using the next couple days to get some much-needed rest before heading on their four-game road trip.
“We’re just going to take a couple days off. Get away," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Gather some energy and I think when you’re able to play the game when you feel good, your thought process is much more effective. When you’re not thinking good, it slows you down. Everybody should get some energy. Get back. We’ve got four tough games on the road and we’ll just go one at a time."