Oilers-Blackhawks: The Shootout is Again Edmonton's Saviour

Martin MaleAnalyst INovember 25, 2007

IconThe Edmonton Oilers were home tonight to play the Chicago Blackhawks. This was the 5th game of the six game homestand for the Oilers. The two teams sport the top four rookies in the NHL. Nikolai Khabibulin and Dwayne Roloson started in goal for their teams tonight.

The game started with the four rookies on the ice; Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews against Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner. The first shot of the game went to the Blackhawks and it was Roloson with a good save. Two minutes in and Joni Pitkanen had an exciting end to end rush. Chicago was called for a penalty on the play as Versteeg was called for hooking. The Oilers had a couple of early chances on the power play with Hemsky and Grebeshkov but neither were good enough to hit the net. The NHL’s worst power play again fails to score a goal.

Six minutes gone and the Oilers had the best chance as Hemsky set up Horcoff in front of the Chicago net and Khabibulin makes a big save. The Hawks came right back and a bouncing shot from Kane forced Roloson into a diving save. Eight minutes gone and Zach Stortini was creamed by a blindside hit by Jacob Dowell. Stortini took offense to the hit and a fight took place between Stortini and David Koci. It was a good battle but it was more of a wrestling match than a fight.

The next couple of minutes gave us some good end to end action with little in the way of scoring chances. Finally, with nine minutes to go in the period, Sergei Samsonov had a partial breakaway down the right side and his quick snapshot was saved and held by Roloson. 7:30 to go and some good work behind the net by Penner and Hemsky allowed Horcoff to find an open spot in front of the net but the pass from Penner hops his stick as went to shoot.

The next 3 minutes saw some good end to end action with no whistles but little in the way of good scoring chances. Under 4 minutes to go and Ales Hemsky had a good rush and his quick shot was kicked over the glass by Khabibulin. The Hawks came right back and it was Lang and Samsonov teaming up for a good scoring chance that Roloson saved.

The Oilers started back up ice and as Jarret Stoll broke to the net he was hooked by Yanic Perrault and the Oilers had their second power play with just under 3 minutes to go. Both Hemsky and Cogliano had good scoring chances on the power play but Khabibulin was there to save both. The Hawks killed that penalty and the period ended as it started with no score. Shots favored the Oilers in the period 8-7.

The Hawks came out in the second with all the pressure and it resulted in a blast from the point by Jim Vandermeer that finds the top corner. Roloson was screened on the shot and didn’t have a chance.

1-0  Blackhawks at 0:47

Just under two minutes into the period we had a scary play. Dick Tarnstrom was blindsided and hit the boards hard and he was down on the ice for a period of time. He was helped off the ice and went straight to the dressing room.

With just over three minutes gone in the period the Blackhawks got their first power play as Steve Staios was called for hooking on Patrick Kane. The Oilers did a good job of not giving up any scoring chances and as the penalty expired it was Pitkanen again with an end to end rush that forced Khabibulin to make a big save. The Hawks came back and continued the pressure on the Oilers and this time it was Stoll taking a penalty for slashing.

The Oilers had the best chance short-handed as  Cogliano set up Horcoff alone in the slot and his shot was saved by Khabibulin. The Hawks came back and it was Samsonov ripping a shot over the net as the penalty expired. The next 5 minutes were spent going end to end with a few good scoring chances but nothing big.

Finally with just under 8 minutes to go, Denis Grebeshkov made a rush from the point that drew a defender and Khabibulin out of position and his pass out front found Hemsky all alone for an open net tap in.

1-1 at 12:13

The Oilers came right back after the goal and had another good chance as Cogliano set up Torres in the slot and his shot was blockered to the corner by Khabibulin. With just under five minutes to go the Hawks finally had a good chance as Robert Lang had a quick shot from the right side that hit a defender and almost fooled Roloson.

The next 4:00 was a bit scrambly in play and then with under a minute to play, Dustin Penner broke in on the right side and his big slap shot was saved by Khabibulin. The period ends tied at 1. Shots favored the Hawks 14-11 in the period.

The Blackhawks started the third period much like the second with some early pressure. The Oilers got the first good chance of the period with just over 2 minutes gone as Cogliano and Gagner set up Penner in the slot but Khabibulin did the splits to make the save.

Two minutes later it was again the Oilers as Horcoff sent Hemsky in alone on the right side and his shot was bobbled and cleared by Khabibulin. The Hawks came right back as Dowell got a good shot away and Roloson was forced to dive on the rebound.

The tie was finally broken at 6:02 as the Oilers won an neutral zone faceoff. Sanderson then outraced a Hawks defender to a loose puck in the corner. His pass then went to Brodziak and his centering pass found Marty Reasoner all alone in front. Reasoner made no mistake burying the shot through the legs of Khabibulin.

2-1 Oilers at 6:02

The Hawks came right back and a point shot from Seabrook was gloved and held by Roloson. The Oilers then came back with Brodziak stealing the puck deep in the Hawks zone and Khabibulin had to make two big saves off the big Oiler forward.

Again it was the Hawks turn as then came right back and a quick shot gives Roloson some problems and he dives on the loose puck. The end to end action continued as both teams exchanged chances. With just under 10 minutes to go the Oilers are guilty of a bad giveaway deep in their own zone and Toews gets a great chance that Roloson makes a big save on. The Hawks continued with the pressure and Roloson again has to dive to make a save. He lost his stick and the Oilers were running around. Finally a shot from the point by Duncan Keith somehow goes through 5 or 6 bodies right along the ice and it picked the bottom corner.

2-2 at 11:18

Under eight minutes to go, Ladislav Smid does his best Pitkanen impersonation as he went end to end but the end result was far from a good chance as he lost the puck in the corner. The Oilers continued with some pressure and on the play it was Toews for interference called. The Hawks had the best chance on the penalty kill as the team with the most short-handed goals in the league came close twice and only Roloson kept the game tied. It was a horrible power play for the Oilers and it was easy to see why they rank last in the league in that department.

Just over four minute to go and a Grebeshkov giveaway deep in the Oiler zone gave the Hawks a good chance that was saved by a sprawling Staios. Grebeshkov is good for one of those bad giveaways per game. The Hawks continued the pressure and only a big save by Roloson off Samsonov kept the game tied. The Torres, Stoll and Stortini line was just horrible tonight.

With under a minute to go the Oilers had some pressure of their own as Ales Hemsky had a pair of shots but as the Hawks broke out, Hemsky held the stick of Kane and with only 90 seconds to play in regulation the Hawks had their third power play of the night. The Hawk had some good pressure but the Oilers held the fort and killed the last of the time in the period.

The Hawks start the overtime with 26 seconds left on their power play. Because of the penalty we started the overtime with some 4 on 3 action. The Oilers killed the remainder of the penalty but the Hawks continued with the pressure. The Oilers finally got the puck out of their zone as Hemsky went end to end and beat 3 Blackhawk players but not the last one.

Again the teams went end to end with Roloson making a save at one end and Khabibulin at the other. The first good chance came with just under 2 minutes to go as Vandermeer blasted a point shot that Roloson does the splits on and grabs with the glove. The Oilers came right back and a blast from Penner was kicked to the corner by Khabibulin. Roloson again made a couple of big saves on Kane and Kane was mobbed by Oilers as he continued to slash at Roloson after the puck was held. Kane was called for slashing on the play but with only 11 seconds left it meant little. No scoring in the OT which meant we went to the shootout.

Gagner was the first to go and he screwed Khabibulin into the ice with 3 or 4 moves and easily scores. Kane went next for the Hawks and Roloson made the save. Hemsky was next for the Oilers and he was checked by Khabibulin. Perrault went next for the Hawks and his shot was over the net. Horcoff went third with a chance to win the game and his quick wrist shot went five-hole. It was another shoot-out victory for the Oilers.

The Edmonton Oilers now have 9 victories on the season and 6 of them have come via the shoot-out. They need to start winning some games in regulation because these shoot-out victories are still giving their opponents as point in the standings. Dwayne Roloson picked up his first victory since October 25th and was spectacular at times tonight. With Garon playing well it would be in the Oilers best interest if Roloson was also at the top of his game as the Oilers need good goaltending to win. The final shots in the game favored the Hawks 40-31.