Blackhawks-Oilers: Chicago Continues the Road-Trip, Begins the Canada Trip
The Chicago Blackhawks (28-13-8) may not be undefeated during the entire season, but after beating the Edmonton Oilers (25-22-3) by a score of 3-1, the 'Hawks continue their perfect record of 10-0-0 against teams in Canada this season.
The start of tonight's game had a promising start. The 'Hawks were handling the puck well out of the shoot, and it seemed as though the face-offs were slightly better. Each team actually ended up winning half of their face-offs at the end of the game.
The Oilers would draw first blood. Right after a Walker-Stortini scrap, Ethan Moreau was able to find a loose puck to put in the net for the first tally of the night. Moreau actually elevated the puck, bouncing off Brian Campbell's face then redirecting off the back of Cristobal Huet's helmet and into the goal. The former Blackhawk had his 12th goal of the year.
Troy Brouwer had multiple opportunities throughout the game starting in the first period, but was never able to execute.
Dustin Byfuglien had some big hits during the first. As well as, James Wisniewski and Cam Barker. It was great to see Big Buff, the Wiz, and Cammy getting more involved in the physicality aspect of the sport. Something that the 'Hawks still need to improve on this year and beyond.
The 'Hawks did a great job putting the puck on net. Another thing that I have strived for this year. The more chances means the more goals.
Also, Chicago's penalty kill unit did a great job on a Patrick Kane tripping call.
Chicago's defense was not the greatest in the first. The Oilers had many opportunities, but luckily for the "D," Huet was having a good night. Huet had 20 saves by the last horn.
Cam Barker was the first to score for Chicago on a Power Play goal. Barker executed an excellent pass to Brian Campbell, then Campbell set-up Barker at the point for a great slap-shot that had Oiler goalie Dwayne Roloson on his toes. With the help from a Jonathan Toews screen, the puck easily found the back of the net. This put Barker's 27 game slump of no goals to an end. Barker tallied his fourth goal of the year.
The man from France, Cristobal Huet, had some great saves during the second, making sure that the Oilers did not finish any of their great opportunities.
At one point in the second, the 'Hawks were out shooting the Oilers by a mark of 36-9.
David Bolland slapped a goal in from the defense-man position right after a feed from Matt Walker going to the inboards to keep the play alive. Bolland is now in the double digits with 10 goals on the year. Marty Havlat and Matt Walker picked up the assists.
Throughout the entire second period, the 'Hawks did a great job keeping the puck in the Oiler's zone allowing Chicago to at one point out shoot them 30-13.
The 'Hawks played great hockey in the third. Roloson was the only Oiler doing good, keeping Edmonton in the game at this point.
Defense-man Lubomir Visnovski went out with an injury after delivering a check into the boards.
Marty Havlat would tally the final goal for the 'Hawks with a wrap around deflecting off of Roloson's stick. That gave Havlat his 16th of the season. Wiz and Bolland picked up the assists.
The 'Hawks continued to control the puck with true passion while passing the puck quite well.
The 'Hawks out shot the Oilers 41-21.
The 'Hawks allowed a Power Play goal in seven straight games prior to tonight. That slump has ended.
Huet is now 9-4 in his last 13 decisions.
Player to Watch
Patrick Kane continues to struggle. Kane has only one goal and two assists since returning from injury. Hopefully, that can change soon.
Player of the Game
Dave Bolland (one goal, one assist)
The 'Hawks will continue their Canadian road-trip to Calgary, Alberta, Canada where they will take on Western Conference's third place Calgary Flames (30-16-4). The puck will drop Thursday, Feb. 5 at 8:30 PM CT.
Look for Nikolai Khabibulin, who has won two straight games, to start Thursday night.
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