EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)—A trip to Edmonton was just what the Chicago Blackhawks needed to get back on track.
“We needed to win this game,” Chicago captain Jonathan Toews(notes) said. “Sometimes we tend to look at the standings and see a team below us and maybe drop our game level down a little bit. We didn’t do that.”
The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks are 11th in the Western Conference, three points behind eighth-place Calgary.
“Every game is huge for us right now,” Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith(notes) said. “There is no waiting anymore or saying there is lots of time because we don’t have a lot of time anymore. We are going to have to be desperate every game and come out flying like we did in the first period. There is no reason we can’t do that every game.”
“We were deserving of most of what happened,” Oilers associate coach Ralph Krueger said. “They came out with their ‘A’ game, very high speed and very high tempo. There was too much space and room. We took some unnecessary penalties in the first half of the game and it just put us on our heels the whole time.”
The Blackhawks had the first prolonged pressure of the game midway through the first period, and it paid off as Toews passed to a hard-charging Sharp, who scored his 27th goal.
Dubnyk was coming off his first career shutout on Monday at Nashville.
The Blackhawks took a three-goal lead four minutes into the third period on their sixth power play. Tomas Kopecky(notes) made a nice backhand feed from behind the goal line to Kane, who snapped the puck into the net to make it 3-0.
Kane put the game away with an empty-net goal with 43 seconds left.
Oilers coach Tom Renney wasn’t at the game because he was traveling to Cranbrook, British Columbia, to attend his father’s funeral. Krueger ran the bench against Chicago and will lead the Oilers again against Ottawa on Saturday.
Just before the game, the Blackhawks traded winger Jack Skille(notes) to Florida along with prospects Hugh Jessiman(notes) and David for forward Michael Frolik(notes) and highly touted Czech goalie Alexander Salak(notes), who has been starring in the Swedish Elite League.
“It was a weird day,” Toews said. “Especially coming right before the game like that. Jack was getting ready just like everybody else. We’re getting warmed up and the next thing you know he isn’t in the locker room. He’s a good guy and a good teammate and we wish him the best. At the same time we are excited to see what we are getting.”
Notes: It was the fourth and final meeting of the season between the teams. Edmonton won two of the first three. … Blackhawks D Niklas Hjalmarsson(notes) didn’t practice Tuesday after blocking four shots against Calgary on Monday, but was in the lineup on Edmonton. … Oilers D Tom Gilbert(notes), who left the pervious game after taking a knee to the head, returned to action. … Oilers forward Andrew Cogliano(notes) played in his 300th NHL game.