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Blackhawks 4, Oilers 1

The SportsXchange

EDMONTON -- For the past 48 hours, the Edmonton Oilers have felt like kids with their faces pressed against the candy store window and no money in their pockets.

They could look, but not touch.

Two days after the Anaheim Ducks rolled into Edmonton and clinched their division championship at the Oilers' expense, the Chicago Blackhawks came to town and used the Oilers as their final stepping stone to a Presidents' Trophy.

Everybody's winning something except Edmonton.

Chicago secured the league's best regular-season record with a 4-1 victory Wednesday at Rexall Place.

The Blackhawks (35-6-5) have been brilliant all season, storming out of the gate with an NHL record streak of points in 24 consecutive games (21-0-3) and haven't slowed down much since.

They've only lost back-to-back games in regulation twice this season en route to the second Presidents' Trophy. The other came in 1990-91. The award was established in 1985-86.

Edmonton, meanwhile, has lost nine of its past 10 games and will miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.

For some reason, though, the Oilers usually give Chicago trouble. They entered Wednesday 4-0-1 against the Hawks in the past five meetings and 6-3-1 in their past 10.

Go figure.

And this one, despite a 32-point spread in the standings, was a coin toss for 40 minutes before Chicago pulled away in the third.

The Hawks opened the scoring just 3:58 into the first period when Jonathan Toews put a snap shot under the arm of Devan Dubnyk, but the Oilers got that one right back when rookie Nail Yakupov scored his 12th of the year. Patrick Kane scored on a breakaway 8:11 into the first to give Chicago a 2-1 lead it would take into the first intermission.

Edmonton hit a major sag in the second period, registering just two shots in 20 minutes, but escaped without any damage thanks to some big saves from Dubnyk.

The luck ran out early in the third period when Johnny Oduya put a shot under the crossbar at 4:36. A two-goal deficit against the best team in the league was too much for the Oilers to overcome. Patrick Sharpe added an empty-netter with 1:42 remaining.

Chicago goalie Ray Emery started the game and played about 10 minutes before skating to the bench and pulling himself from the action. The team said he had a "lower-body" injury. Corey Crawford replaced Emery, and he stopped all 14 shots he faced.

Dubnyk made 26 saves.

NOTES: Oilers LW Taylor Hall, C Jordan Eberle and Dubnyk accepted invitations to play for Team Canada at the World Championships in Sweden and Finland. ... C Drew LeBlanc stepped in for the Blackhawks, playing his first NHL game. ... Chicago's division title is the 15th in franchise history. ... The Blackhawks are tied for the league lead in shutouts with seven and are one of only three teams that have not been shut out.
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