CHICAGO – A few hours prior to puck drop, coach Joel Quenneville was headed to a team meeting to tell the Blackhawks to be “respectful” of the Oilers.
The Hawks showed the Western Conference cellar-dwelling visitors from Edmonton a little too much respect before finally coming alive and subduing the Oilers 5-4 on Sunday night at the United Center.
Brandon Saad had a goal and an assist, while Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell, Marcus Kruger and Duncan Keith also scored to help the Hawks to their third consecutive victory. Corey Crawford picked up the win in goal, and Chicago now owns a seven-game points streak.
Jordan Eberle had a goal and two assists, David Perron a goal and an assist, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov also scored for the Oilers, but it wasn’t enough as Devan Dubbyk struggled in goal as the Oilers fell to 4-13-2 on the season.
Late in a sleepy opening period, Saad sent a jolt through the crowd of 21,185 when he pounced on a puck advanced into the slot by teammate Brandon Pirri and batted it past Dubnyk.
Edmonton took the lead on Nugent-Hopkins’ even-strength goal and one on the power play by Yakupov. The Oliers could have done more damage, but Crawford stoned Sam Gagner on a penalty shot.
The Hawks knotted it at 2-2 late in the second on Shaw’s score. Saad won a puck battle with Oilers defenseman Anton Belov and whipped a pass into the slot, where Shaw swooped in and beat Dubnyk.
Early in the third, the Hawks regained the lead after Dubnyk left a juicy rebound off a Michal Rozsival shot and Bickell gathered the puck and tucked it in.
Again, the Oilers kept coming and evened the score at 3-3 with a power-play tally by Perron.
That set up Kruger’s game-winner with 8 minutes, 16 seconds remaining in the third. The center converted off a pass from Ben Smith as Kruger wrapped the puck around the out-stretched skate of Dubnyk.
Keith gave the Hawks some breathing room with a power-play goal when his shot from the point found the back of the net. They needed it as Eberle made things interesting with a short-handed score late in the third.