THE STREAK IS OVER.
Long live the streak.
The Oilers looked to cruise to a victory over the Blackhawks last night, but were stopped by a winless Chicago squad. The team came out and looked well enough for the first period, but they looked absolutely gassed by the time the second period expired. Fortunately, only a Patrick Kane goal had passed Mike Smith through 40 minutes.
Alex Nylander was able to get the Blackhawks out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period. The Oilers would make it interesting when they pulled Mike Smith on a power play. James Neal earned his eighth of the year with just over two minutes remaining, but it was all for naught. Edmonton gave it one last push, but Brandon Saad tucked it in a yawning net to put the Blackhawks on top for good.
The Hawks emerged with their first W of the season, taking the Oilers by a 3-1 margin.
What happened out there?
- The Oilers winning streak ends at an impressive five games. I don’t think any of us had the Oilers going 5-1 in their first six, so take that, put it in your pocket and get ready for Wednesday’s game against the Flyers at home.
- GRIP IT AND RIP IT: The Hawks broke the scoring open early in the second period with a goal from Patrick Kane.
- MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: Leon Drasaitl had a breakaway in the first period that was stymied by Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford. The first period was a good one for the Oilers, though no goals were scored. The pace was up-tempo, and I would’ve like to have seen a couple more periods just like it.
- The second period might have been the worst period I’ve seen from the Oilers all year. They got out-hustled, outworked, and were outshot 17-6. I’m not a rocket scientist, but you’re not going to win many games when you’re getting outshot by a near 3-1 margin. Stick tap to the goaltending for keeping it close.
- SPEAKING OF THE NETMIDNERS: It wasn’t a bad day for Mike Smith, who turned aside 32 of 34 total Blackhawk shots. If we’re following Dave Tippett’s rotating goaltender school of thought, Mikko Koskinen will likely start against Philadelphia tomorrow night at home.
- James Neal scored his eighth goal of the season late in the game on a power play.
- Neal’s eighth goal of the season eclipses his previous season’s total of 7 in 79 games. Neal burst on to the scene quickly this year for the Oilers, so you’ve got to account for some levelling off over the coming weeks and months. I still think 20 goals would be a pretty great season for James Neal’s first season in Oiler colours.
- Neal’s PP goal woke up a largely lethargic powerplay that was dormant earlier in the game. The Oilers had a back-to-back situation that saw them compile just one shot on four minutes of power play time when both Dominik Kubalik and Andrew Shaw took back-to-back penalties late in the first.
- You can really tell when things start to go off the rails in the second period. Things cooled off a bit in the third, but it was pretty much all Chicago after 20 minutes.
- NEXT UP: The Oilers are back home tomorrow night when they face off against the Philadelphia Flyers. Game time is 7:30 PM. Join us for cocktails and finger foods.