It may have been the best game all year for the Blackhawks – either by play and results, or by entertainment. The speed of the game on the Edmonton ice didn’t disappoint, and neither did the Hawks, who dominated the struggling Oilers to begin their circus road trip with two convincing wins (at a combined score of 12-3).
The Hawks wasted no time scoring in the first, when Patrick Kane stripped Ladislov Smid of the puck behind the Oil net. Kane tipped the puck to Toews, who pounded two shots on net, the second of which went in.
The Urlers would even it up quickly, though, as a Sheldon Souray rebound was helped in by Cam Barker, one of the few Hawks still struggling amidst a six-game win streak.
From there, the Hawks put the pedal to the proverbial metal, scoring three consecutive goals by Kris Versteeg, Patrick Kane and John Madden. The Kane goal was the most note-worthy, as Kane found himself in one-on-two, with forward Liam Reddox on his side. Kane took Reddox wide, lowered his shoulder and got to the net, where he slipped the puck through the legs of Jeff Deslauriers.
Dusin Penner would add the Oilers’ second of the game early in the third, but Toews added his second of the night when he found himself in the slot from off a pass from the side boards to stretch the lead to three again. He beat Deslauriers like a rented mule up high.
Yo, Listen Up!
— The Oilers used back-up Jeff Deslauriers when Nikolai Khabibulin experienced back issues before the game. The bigger story, though, was the Oilers use of Edmonton Oil Kings’ (of the Western Hockey League) netminder Torrie Jung as back-up. Jung was a seventh round pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2007, and attended the most recent Oiler training camp. He is unsigned to this point.
— Bryan Bickell’s night lasted all of a couple minutes. Bickell hit Penner hard as Penner cut to the middle of the ice in the Hawk zone, but Penner fell to the ice and took the feet from under Bickell, who hit his head on the ice. Bickell left immediately and didn’t return. Sad, too, that Bickell has been the Hawks’ best call-up to this point. Here’s hoping he’s able to return before Marian Hossa does – for his sake.
— One of the better things I can say about Deslauriers involves his equipment. His pads were of the burnt orange variety – a nice change for a league where most goalies have switched to white for tactical purposes – and his mask, a nod to Oilers’ past, features big and bold striping. As beautiful as many goalie masks are these days, most feature designs that are too small to discern from even a few feet away. Deslauriers’ mask is as pretty from forty feet away as it is from up close. Well done, Sir.
— As for his play, his flux capacitor must have been low on plutonium.
— Another thing that’s been bothering me lately: There should be no room for a “veteran move” on an icing call. It’s commonplace for a player who was on the ice for the dump-in to find himself on the bench as the face-off nears, thereby giving the team guilty of icing extra time to rest while the referees figure out which five players belong out on the ice. In this instance, referees should – without exception – penalize the player for a delay of game. If the players aren’t intelligent enough to realize they belong on the ice following an icing call, they should be sent to the box for two.
— Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Eager hit posts for the Blackhawks. Both played well, but Byfuglien had one of his more active games of the year. He deserved a goal.
— Speaking of Eager, he did well to stay out of fisticuffs after the Hawks took a commanding lead. Many people were clamoring to see Zack Stortini and Colin Fraser try to hug each other out of the game, though. It wouldn’t happen.
— Antti Niemi will get the start tonight in Vancouver. Not only is Cristobal Huet still on the Hawks, but he’s started ten of the Hawks’ last 11, and has looked very, very good doing it.
— Patrick O’Sullivan is a waste of time.
— Back-to-back games on the west coast of Canada on the heels of a six-game winning streak – tonight will be a tough one.