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Blackhawks jump on Oilers early, win 5-1

The SportsXchange

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers were hoping to extend their season-long winning streak to four games Monday night. Unfortunately for them, they were trying to do it against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Hawks, who have lost just four games in regulation all season, didn't seem all that interested in letting a fifth team celebrate at their expense, and they put the Oilers away early in a 5-1 victory.

In a game the Oilers described as a measuring stick, they didn't measure up at all. Chicago (17-4-4) scored shorthanded early in the first period, made it 2-0 on the power play a few minutes later, scored two more in the first six minutes of the second period and never looked back.

"We had a great start in the game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We get that shorthanded goal and we have a red-hot power play that got us off on the right foot.

"Getting off to that start was important. The special teams in the first period really put us in a good spot. Across the board, we did what we were looking to do and played a really solid game."

The Oilers did not.

"I definitely don't think that we played as well as we could have," Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. "We came out a little flat, didn't have the same jump that we had in the past few games to start. We have to be prepared no matter who we're playing and tonight it didn't seem like we were ready to go right from the beginning."

The trouble started in a hurry for Edmonton (7-16-2).

The Oilers five-forward power play unit, which had been scoring up a storm recently (four goals in the last four games) was looking to make it 1-0 against the NHL's 29th-ranked penalty kill when Chicago winger Ben Smith went off for tripping at 4:24.

Instead, Oilers right winger Nail Yakupov turned the puck over at the Chicago blue line, giving Hawks center Jonathan Toews a breakaway, which he scored on rather easily to make it 1-0 at 5:14.

The Hawks' power play made it 2-0 when Chicago right wing Patrick Kane scored on a goal-mouth scramble at 8:06.

The Oilers fell further behind early in the second when Chicago's third goal banked in off defenseman Corey Potter's glove and past goalie Devan Dubnyk at 1:28. The goal, credited to defenseman Johnny Oduya, put the Oilers in deep trouble. It got a lot deeper when Andrew Shaw converted a 3-on-1 at 5:49 to make it 4-0.

"I don't what it was; we just didn't have it tonight. It wasn't there," Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz said. "And when you get behind against a team like this you're going to have a tough time coming back."

The fourth Chicago goal marked the end of Dubnyk, who got the hook after four goals on 14 shots, and the Oilers debut of Ilya Bryzgalov, who arrived to a tremendous ovation.

The Oilers finally found the scoreboard on their eighth shot of the game (at 8:08 of the second period) when Schultz put one in off the iron.

Shaw rounded out the scoring for Chicago late in the third.

"I needed to make up for a few bad plays I had in my last game, so I just tried to work extra hard tonight," said Shaw, adding Chicago seems to be running like a well-oiled machine lately. "We've got back to our systems and rolling all four lines. Everybody is bringing the energy we need them to and the chemistry through all four lines is pretty amazing right now.

"We've been playing some of our best hockey. We've had a couple of injuries to key people, but everybody is stepping up. That's why our game has improved."

NOTES: Oilers G Devan Dubnyk was named the NHL's third star for the week on the strength of two wins, a 0.50 goals-against average and a .974 save percentage. ... With coach Dallas Eakins reluctant to tinker with a winning formula, the Oilers went with the same lineup for the fifth game in a row. ... Hawks RW Patrick Kane's first-period goal extended his consecutive game point-scoring streak to 11. ... Chicago LW Bryan Bickell sat out a third game in a row with a lower-body injury, while RW Marian Hossa missed a second game to attend to a personal matter. Hossa had just returned from a three-game absence caused by a lower-body injury. ... The second-period goal from Oilers D Justin Schultz gives him a point in all three games since missing eight games with a groin injury.
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