Blackhawks 5, Oilers 4

Jerry Bonkowski, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Defenseman Duncan Keith's first goal of the season, a power-play effort at 13:39 of the third period, proved to be the insurance the Chicago Blackhawks needed in a 5-4 win over the surprisingly strong Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night at the United Center.
The win marked the third time in four attempts that the Blackhawks have won back-to-back games, having defeated the Stars in Dallas on Saturday.
Chicago is now 5-0-1 in its last six games and improves to 12-2-4. Edmonton drops to 4-13-2 after suffering its eighth loss in the last nine games.
With Edmonton off to a terrible start this season, due mainly to injuries that have decimated the Oilers with 107 lost man-games coming into Sunday's game, Hawks fans could be excused if they thought the Oilers would be a pushover.
But Edmonton gave as good as it got throughout the contest.
A strong Oilers defensive effort kept Chicago from scoring until late in the first period as left wing Brandon Saad (4) tallied at 18:23.
As if to add insult to injury, Saad's momentum carried him into Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk, knocking him down and into the net.
Whatever Edmonton head coach Dallas Eakins said to his team during intermission sure did the trick as the Oilers wasted little time in tying the game at 1-1 just 54 seconds into the second period on center Ryan Nugent-Hopkin's fifth goal of the season.
At 4:13 of the middle period, Edmonton center Sam Gagner failed to score on a penalty shot against Chicago goalie Corey Crawford after the Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was whistled for interference on a Gagner breakaway, resulting in the one-on-one vs. Crawford.
Blocking the corner of the net with aplomb, Crawford's presence essentially forced the incoming Gagner to shoot wide to the right of the net, ending Edmonton's chance of taking the lead at that point.
Chicago's penalty kill took a hit at 8:55 when, with Saad in the penalty box for elbowing, the Oilers took a 2-1 lead on a power-play goal by right wing Nail Yakupov (second of the season).
The Blackhawks, who are making a habit of scoring late in a period recently, did it again with 2:42 left in the middle period.
Saad offered a perfect feed through the crease to center Andrew Shaw, who easily poked the puck past the out of position Dubnyk to tie the game at 2-2.
Left wing Brian Bickell's goal early in the third period put the Blackhawks back on top 3-2.
Teammate defenseman Michal Rozsival fed a beautiful pass to Bickell, who poked it past the outstretched Dubny for his fifth goal of the season, coming at 5:33 of the final frame.
But to their credit, the Oilers had no quit in them, rallying back to tie the game 3-3 at 7:58 on left wing David Perron's fourth goal of the season, on the power-play.
Chicago came right back at 11:44 when center Marcus Kruger scored his second goal of the season, putting the Hawks back on top 4-3.
After Keith's goal, the Oilers made it close on center right wing Jordan Eberle's slapshot goal from just inside the blue line, but Edmonton could not get any closer.
Rozsival left the game with just over four minutes to play after being struck in the face, apparently by the stick of Edmonton left wing David Perron.
NOTES: Attendance was 21,185. ... Lucky he signed on the dotted line when he did: One week after the Blackhawks signed F Brad Mills to a guaranteed one-year contract, he suffered a lower-body injury that has sidelined him for the last five games, including Sunday. There's no word yet on his return, but some media reports claim Mills could miss several weeks after the team previously said his status would be day-to-day. ... G Nikolai Khabibulin continues to sit on the bench, having appeared in just three of the Hawks' 19 games thus far this season. Khabibulin, 40, remains two games away from 800 appearances in his lengthy NHL career. G Corey Crawford has played in each of the last seven games (including Sunday) without a break. Khabibulin gave up four goals in his last game (vs. Minnesota), prompting head coach Joel Quenneville to bench him midway through and bring Crawford on in relief. ... Chicago hosts Phoenix on Thursday before playing eight of its next nine games on the road, including seven straight away from the United Center (the first of two times that will happen this season). ... Edmonton came into Sunday with an all-time record of 52-55-12-0 vs. Chicago. ... Sunday wrapped up a four-game road trip for the Oilers, who return home to face Dallas on Wednesday.

What to Read Next