Blackhawks starting new streak — drop 6-5 loss to Oilers
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org March 10, 2013 8:49PM
Edmonton Oilers' Mike Brown, center, celebrates his goal with teammate Lennart Petrell (37), from Finland, as Chicago Blackhawks center Jamal Mayers skates away during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 10, 2013 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Updated: March 12, 2013 2:16PM
It wasn’t a fair race at all — speedy Patrick Kane and 6-5, heavily padded Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk converging on a loose puck along the half-wall — and Kane won it handily, zipping past the wandering netminder and firing the puck into the yawning net. Kane then stomped his way up to center ice, furiously pumping his fist in a concerted effort to wake up the stunned crowd and his sleepy teammates.
“We knew we were going to give it a fight,” Kane said.
And the Blackhawks did just that, twice nearly rallying from four-goal deficits in a dizzying final 40 minutes. But a dreadful first period proved too big a hole to climb out of, and the Hawks started a new streak in the wrong direction, falling 6-5 to the Oilers on Sunday for their second straight loss.
“It’s nice to know we can make a run on teams if we’re down,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. “But our start was unacceptable.”
Indeed, the four-goal first might have even been worse than the four-goal second period Colorado had on Friday in the game that snapped the Hawks’ 24-game point streak. Offensively, the Hawks were sloppy and a step slow. Defensively, they let the Oilers have their way.
And in the net, Ray Emery gave up three goals — to Northbrook native Mike Brown, Sam Gagner and Ray Whitney — on nine shots before being replaced by Corey Crawford, who gave up a power-play goal to Gagner three minutes later.
Playing their seventh game in 11 days, the Hawks looked weary and out of sorts.
“You look at the first 20 minutes, we were just so flat, and we just didn’t have any jump,” Jonathan Toews said. “We made every mistake possible by taking penalties and giving them chances in our zone. You give them a 4-0 lead, it’s pretty tough to come back.”
They almost did, though. Kane’s mad-dash goal against Dubnyk made it 4-1 at the 5:36 mark of the first, and Marian Hossa made it 4-2 two minutes later.
Things really got wild after that. First, Dubnyk was knocked out of the game by his own teammate. Then the Hawks and Oilers simply started trading goals — a power-play goal by Shawn Horcoff for Edmonton, a short-handed goal by Sheldon Brookbank for the Hawks, a power-play goal by Taylor Hall for Edmonton, a slap-shot goal (so hard he fell down shooting it) by Seabrook. Those four goals came in a wild seven-minute span in the second period.
Kane scored his second goal — on the Hawks’ first power play — 7:06 into the third, but despite a tremendous three-chance barrage by Kane on his next shift and another power play, the Hawks couldn’t complete the comeback.
Toews bristled when asked if playing seven games in 11 nights was an excuse, and Keith said he didn’t even realize they had played that much. But Quenneville said rest was the one thing his team needed more than anything else, and he acted on that need — the Hawks will not practice for the next two days, returning to the ice Wednesday before embarking on a four-game trip starting at red-hot Columbus on Thursday.
For the Hawks, it’s a welcome chance to get past the hype of the streak, the frustration from the two losses and the fatigue from the toughest stretch of the season.
“It’s big for us, for sure,” Kane said. “We’ve played a lot of games, [and now] we have a few days to just relax at home before we go on a road trip again. So it’ll be good to regroup and just get away from the rink for a couple of days and get back at it when we go to Columbus.”