Blackhawks 5, Oilers 2
The Chicago Blackhawks needed two periods to get up to full speed against the lowly Edmonton Oilers.
Niklas Hjalmarsson, Dustin Byfuglien and Jonathan Toews scored in the third period to help the Blackhawks beat the Oilers 5-2 on Wednesday night for their fifth victory in six games.
Marian Hossa and Dave Bolland also scored for the Blackhawks, who increasingly dominated as the game progressed. Patrick Kane added two assists as Chicago wound up outshooting Edmonton 47-14.
The Blackhawks were flat in a 5-3 road loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday night, their first game following the Olympic break. Six Blackhawks including Toews, Kane and Hossa took part in the Vancouver Games.
``The third period, that's the way we can be,'' said Toews, who skated on the gold medal-winning Canadian team and was selected the top forward in the Olympic tournament. ``I think we got our legs.
``The last two nights, we've played two teams everybody expects you to beat. There are 20-some games left, and you've got to focus on what you can do, no matter who you're playing.''
Hossa, who played for Slovakia in Vancouver, added an assist, as did Toews.
``Tonight I thought (Hossa) had a special game,'' Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. ``Defensively, he was outstanding. He had the puck a lot.''
Robert Nilsson and Shawn Horcoff scored for Edmonton. The Oilers have lost three straight and seven of their last eight.
The Oilers, who made two trades before the deadline Wednesday, skated with a largely inexperienced group of defensemen, including recent AHL callups Dean Arsene, Taylor Chorney, Theo Peckham and Johan Motin.
``They kids did a pretty good job,'' Edmonton coach Pat Quinn said. ``We didn't put the puck at the net enough and once that turnover game starts going it accentuates with the players who were playing in the minors and still learning their craft.''
Chicago's Cristobal Huet made 12 saves in his first start in nearly a month. Antti Niemi had made five straight starts for the Blackhawks, but Huet replaced him early in the second period of the loss to the Islanders.
The Blackhawks failed to make a long-rumored trade to upgrade their goaltending before the deadline.
After Wednesday's win, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville called Huet's performance ``OK.''
``But this, him getting a win, will be helpful going forward,'' Quenneville added.
Huet, who faced just three shots in the third period, didn't want to read much into his victory.
``I don't want to look too far,'' he said. ``I don't want to go to that No. 1 (goalie) talk, just go to the next game and have a chance to win.''
Edmonton backup Devan Dubnyk stopped 42 shots. He was recalled from Springfield of the AHL on Monday after playing there during the Olympic break.
``You never want to give up five goals, but I felt pretty good about my game,'' Dubnyk said. ``I'll have a look back at the tape and go from there. It's something to build on.''
Earlier, Edmonton sent veteran defenseman Steve Staios to Calgary for defenseman Aaron Johnson and a third-round 2010 draft pick. The Oilers also dealt Lubomir Visnovsky, their top-scoring defenseman, to Anaheim for defenseman and U.S. Olympian Ryan Whitney and a sixth-round pick this year.
Also, Edmonton claimed forward Ryan Jones off waivers from Nashville. Jones was in the lineup, however Johnson and Whitney didn't arrive in time for the game.
Hossa put Chicago ahead 1-0 during a 4-on-4 at 3:26 of the second when he ripped in a high shot from the top of the left circle. Nilsson and Horcoff scored a 52-second span late in the second gave Edmonton a 2-1 lead.
Nilsson jammed the puck under Huet from the edge of the crease with 4:29 left in the second after Sam Gagne had driven to the net. Horcoff beat Huet with a screened shot from the top of the slot with 3:37 left in the period.
Bolland tied it at 2 with 1:57 remaining in the second when he batted in a loose puck from the left side of the net. The play was set up by Hossa, who intercepted a pass from Edmonton's Tom Gilbert.
Hjalmarsson scored on a screened shot from the left point 20 seconds into the third to give Chicago a 3-2 lead. It was only his second goal this season, and first since Oct. 17.
Byfuglien made it 4-2 with a power-play goal midway through the third when he tucked in a shot from the edge of the crease.
The puck was accidentally deflected straight to Byfuglien by Edmonton's Patrick O'Sullivan who tried to cut off Kane's pass from the right boards.
Toews completed the scoring with 3:44 left on shot from the right circle.
NOTES: The Blackhawks honored their six players who participated in the Winter Olympics in a pre-game ceremony. ... Motin played in his first NHL game. ... Arsene missed the first period, but arrived in time to skate for the second after being bumped from a flight after being recalled from Springfield.