Edmonton coach Tom Renney hopes the NHL will take a close look at Daniel Carcillo’s nasty boarding penalty. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville made it sound like an accident.
Everyone agreed it was a crucial play.
Ryan Smyth and Taylor Hall scored power-play goals after Carcillo was ejected in the second period, and the Oilers held on for a 4-3 victory over Chicago on Monday night.
Jordan Eberle had two assists for the Oilers, including a perfect backhand pass to Andy Sutton for the tiebreaking score in the second. Former Blackhawks forward Ben Eager added an insurance goal in the third as Edmonton snapped a three-game slide.
”That’s the way we played at the start of the year,” Sutton said. ”I don’t know what’s so complicated about playing that way. Just don’t turn the puck over. We were tenacious on the puck and the results speak for themselves.”
The Oilers trailed 1-0 when Carcillo launched Tom Gilbert into the boards 7:23 into the second, resulting in a major boarding penalty and a game misconduct.
”I think the hit speaks for itself and the penalty does as well,” Renney said. ”At least to this point it’s been addressed, and I hope it will be looked into even further.”
Gilbert had a step on Carcillo when the well-known agitator pushed the defenseman, sending him into the air and into the boards behind the Edmonton goal. Both went down after the vicious hit and had to be helped off the ice.
”I can hear the ref screaming from the other corner to be careful, to lay up on him, and he comes in contact and throws him off balance 5 feet from the boards,” Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk said. ”I mean, that’s got to be one of the most dangerous plays in hockey for sure, and both guys end up injured out of it.”
Gilbert left with a lower-body injury. The Oilers also lost prized rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to an upper-body injury earlier in the game, and Renney said he wasn’t sure when either player would return to the ice.
Carcillo appeared to be favoring his left leg when he was helped off.
”I’m not going to argue the call,” Quenneville said. ”He beat him to the counter-hit. It wasn’t intent. Both guys went for the same type of a play and he beat him, had better position on the guy. It’s unfortunate what happened.”
Jonathan Toews, Andrew Brunette and Jimmy Hayes scored for Chicago, which had won three of four and 10 of 13. The Blackhawks were looking to avenge a 9-2 loss at Edmonton in their previous meeting Nov. 19, but were hurt by Carcillo’s costly penalty in the second.
”Not happy, that’s for sure,” Chicago star Patrick Kane said. ”It’s a team we should beat. Giving up two on the 5-minute penalty kill changed the momentum of the game. But we still shouldn’t (have) lost to a team like that.”
Hayes’ first career goal in his second game trimmed Edmonton’s lead to 4-3 with 3:49 left. The Blackhawks then got a power-play opportunity when Ryan Jones was sent off for goalie interference, but Dubnyk made a couple of big stops to preserve the victory.
Dubnyk finished with 39 saves. Corey Crawford had 26 stops for Chicago.
”It’s one where we think we should have gotten points out of,” Crawford said. ”It didn’t happen.”
Smyth tied it at 1 just 16 seconds into the 5-minute power play, whacking the puck in from the right post for his 15th goal.
Edmonton then caught a break when Hall appeared to knock down Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson with a stick to the face minutes later. Hjalmarsson appeared to be disoriented while he scrambled to find his stick, and Hall skated to his side and beat Crawford to give the Oilers a 2-1 lead with 9 minutes left in the period.
Hjalmarsson got a measure of revenge when his slap shot from just inside the blue line was tipped in by Brunette at 12:39, but the Oilers went in front again 4 minutes later. Eberle made a nice move to find a wide-open Sutton, whose shot from right in front of the goal went into the upper left corner for his second goal.
Chicago dropped to 14-1-1 when scoring first. It also was the fourth regulation home loss for the Blackhawks this season.
The Blackhawks struck first during an evenly played first period. Carcillo stole an Edmonton pass just outside the blue line in the Oilers’ end and fed Toews, who slid the puck past a screened Dubnyk for his team-leading 22nd goal at 12:54.
Jones had a breakaway opportunity late in the period, but Crawford made a pad save to keep Chicago in front.
NOTES: Nugent-Hopkins, the top overall pick in last year’s draft, began the day leading NHL rookies with 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists). … The Blackhawks signed first-round draft picks Mark McNeil and Phillip Danault, announcing the three-year deals with the 18-year-old centers before the game. McNeil was the 18th selection in last year’s NHL entry draft, and Danault was the No. 26 pick. … Blackhawks D Steve Montador was scratched with an upper-body injury. He had played in every game this season.