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5 takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to Connor McDavid and company: ‘If you’re beside him or behind him, it’s not good enough’

At this point, it shouldn’t be a surprise anymore.

The Chicago Blackhawks lost to the red-hot Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Tuesday at the United Center, once again affirming the Hawks show up for tough opponents.

The Hawks held the Oilers to a season-low 15 shots on goal and their lowest goal total since a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders before their current eight-game winning streak.

“I just think (it was) the work ethic, skating,” coach Luke Richardson said. “We just harped on the guys to be on top of them. … I thought we were really frustrating them, a couple of their good players.

“That’s good for us. I think we were playing the right way. We just couldn’t get that second goal.”

Hawks forward Jason Dickinson scored the opening goal 5 minutes, 52 seconds into the game, his 14th. It was unassisted on the scoresheet, but he had help.

Colin Blackwell poke-checked Zach Hyman as he tried to enter the zone, and Dickinson swiped the loose puck from Cody Ceci and took off. Dickinson dragged to defeat Darnell Nurse’s slide technique and shot past Stuart Skinner.

Richardson also credited Joey Anderson, who forced Skinner to worry about a backdoor option.

“He didn’t get an assist on that (goal), but in my mind he got an assist ... just driving and making it more difficult for the goalie, knowing he’s over there, and also the defensemen.”

Added Dickinson: “I saw Joey driving the net real hard. I think it was Nurse who laid down and I just had enough time to pull it around his stick and then I was just thinking, ‘Get it up,’ because the goalie’s head dropped.”

But the Hawks lost the lead on a couple of lapses. Jarred Tinordi wandered too far into the offensive zone, and Leon Draisaitl made the Hawks pay on the other end.

Then on Connor McDavid’s goal, pick your guilty party. The Hawks executed a line change — Philipp Kurashev skated off and MacKenzie Entwistle hopped the boards — and left McDavid undefended in front of their bench.

Simultaneously, Tinordi’s back was to McDavid as he picked up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at center ice. Connor Murphy shaded to his right, opposite the benches, picking up Mattias Ekholm.

That might as well have been a handwritten invitation for McDavid. He took a stretch pass from Ekholm, and Tinordi had little chance of catching him as he dragged around Petr Mrázek for the go-ahead goal.

“We didn’t have him even before the line change, so that line change is a little irrelevant,” Richardson said. “We’ve got to try to be above him at all times. Our (defensemen) just can’t shift that early.

“It’s on a little bit of everybody. Line change or not, our forwards (have) got to help out. … Especially awareness of him (McDavid). You need a little more cushion to react to him because when he turns it on, if you’re beside him or behind him, it’s not good enough. You’re going to have to be in front of him.”

The Hawks played a tight game but couldn’t cash in on some premium looks, particularly in the third.

They’re just happy to get some reinforcements. Anderson and Taylor Raddysh returned from injured reserve, and Rem Pitlick made his Hawks debut.

Here are five takeaways from the loss.

1. Jason Dickinson came up big (again).

Dickinson did the heavy lifting again.

His line matched up against McDavid, Dickinson took on the lion’s share of faceoffs — winning 61.9% (13 of 21) — and he scored the Hawks’ lone goal.

He’s on pace for 28 goals and 42 points.

“I’m shooting the puck a lot more, shooting it more (accurately),” he said. “Definitely has to be some puck luck in there. You’re not always able to create chances on your own. Sometimes you have to get fortunate bounces. … But also it’s working hard for those chances too.”

Said Richardson: “Not only did he do his job defensively and good on the penalty kill, he got on the scoresheet. And he’s done that against a lot of teams this year, like Toronto and Vegas and Edmonton.”

2. Rem Pitlick jumped the line.

Pitlick wasn’t trying to be flip, but a stray comment after morning skate underscored how his tenure with the Hawks could be measured in minutes.

“I haven’t been watching (the Hawks) super closely, but just from being here for, you know, an hour, everyone’s positive and wants to work hard and turn it around here.”

A snowstorm delayed his flight from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Sunday, so his indoctrination was delayed.

But as he learned, things move faster in Chicago. He hadn’t yet worn a Hawks sweater Tuesday before he was bumped to the first line with Kurashev and Raddysh.

“I’m excited,” Pitlick said. “I got some of those opportunities in Montreal, and I’ve been in those spots for a little bit of time. So I’ll kind of tap back into those times and those feelings.

“I have my skating ability. That allows me to be a 200-foot player. I’m not the biggest guy, so I’m not always the most physical, but I have an active stick to disrupt plays. And I think some hockey IQ and passing ability to make some plays and contribute offensively as well.”

Richardson said Pitlick’s skills aren’t suited to the fourth line.

“He’s a fast, dynamic player,” Richardson said. “I know him a little bit from Montreal when he was there, and that’s what he can do. His skill level can help out on the top six, and that’s where he’s going to be and help out on the power play with his speed and stick skills.”

And that’s how he was deployed in Tuesday’s game.

Pitlick played 18:48,, almost 4 1/2 minutes of which came on the power play.

“I think he did excellent,” Richardson said. “That’s what I remember him as. He’s got a lot of speed. He’s kind of spunky and attacks that puck.”

3. Joey Anderson and Taylor Raddysh made an impact.

Raddysh (left groin strain) and Anderson (left shoulder) returned to the lineup after missing five and 10 games, respectively. Raddysh explained what happened Dec. 29 in Dallas.

“It was right at the start of the game, my first stride, I kind of slipped,” he said after morning skate. “I didn’t fall but I felt a tweak and I knew right away.”

Anderson said his recovery was a “smooth process.” The hard part was watching a string of injuries come after his.

“It’s tough because you know you’re not coming back yet and you’re just itching, and more and more guys were dropping,” he said.

Richardson credited Raddysh, Anderson and Pitlick for helping keep Tuesday’s game tight.

“We out-chanced them in our analytics, not by much, but when you do that against this team, that’s a good job,” Richardson said. “And those guys all had a part of it.”

Anderson, Dickinson and Blackwell had the unenviable job of matching the McDavid line.

“Joey was excellent playing in his first game back, (and) you’re asking him to play against probably the fastest guy who ever played,” Richardson said. “That’s a difficult task, but he did a good job.”

4. Louis Crevier returned to Rockford.

Richardson gave Crevier a “good report” before he was reassigned to the IceHogs. He had three assists and 13 blocks in 13 games for the Hawks.

“I thought he played really well for his first time up,” Richardson said. “We don’t want him sitting around. We want him to continue to build on that.”

Meanwhile, Seth Jones, who has missed 14 games with a left shoulder injury, took part in the morning skate but didn’t play. It was part of his next progression.

“We want to get a practice in with some bumping, but he should be (back) within a week,” Richardson said.

5. Call him Riverboat Richardson?

Hyman momentarily padded the Oilers’ lead to 3-1 on a backdoor pass from McDavid, but the Hawks challenged for offside and the goal was overturned after video review.

It was worth the risk.

“We were pretty confident that we saw (offside),” Richardson said. “(Leon Draisaitl’s) stick and his skate was fully in (the zone) and he didn’t have control.”

The Hawks also challenged a Calgary Flames goal for interference Sunday, and it was overturned.