EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Alex DeBrincat had a goal and two assists as the Chicago Blackhawks got off to fast start and beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 Wednesday night.
Brandon Hagel, Dylan Strome and Kirby Dach also scored for the Blackhawks, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 40 shots — the fourth time this season he's had at least that many.
The Oilers allowed the game’s first goal again — this one coming on Chicago’s first shot — as DeBrincat blasted a power-play one-timer past goalie Mike Smith less than two minutes into the opening period for his 27th of the season. It was the 29th time in the last 35 games that the Oilers have allowed the first goal.
“We came ready to play,” DeBrincat said. “We played simple right off the bat, got it in deep and went to work. We drew a penalty early and scored on that and the momentum went from there.”
Smith also allowed a goal on Chicago’s second shot of the game just 1:03 later as DeBrincat fed a pass across to Hagel, who scored his 13th on a stick-side shot.
Leon Draisaitl scored for the Oilers, who have lost two in a row and have just three wins in their last 11 at home. Smith had 26 saves.
“I think we’ve been out of synch all over,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. “Passes aren’t clean, we haven’t battled hard enough around their net. Offensively we’ve been poor these two games.
“We lost the special team battle again tonight and that’s a big part of our game. When we don’t find a way to win the special teams battle, it seems like we’re chasing the game.”
There was a scary moment late in the first period when Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith crashed hard into the boards and appeared to briefly lose consciousness. He was helped off the ice and did not return.
Edmonton finally got one past Fleury six minutes into the second period as a mad scramble in front of the Blackhawks net resulted in a power-play goal by Draisaitl, his 33rd of the campaign, tying him with the New York Rangers' Chris Kreider for the league lead.
The Oilers outshot the Hawks 20-6 in the middle period, with Fleury stopping 19 shots.
“It was huge,” Chicago interim head Derek King said of his goalie's play. “That’s what he does. He keeps us in games. We played a really good first period and he made some really good saves when we needed him. In the second period we needed him to be sharp and he was, he was outstanding.”
Chicago made it 3-1 on the power play a minute into the third as Strome tipped DeBrincat's shot past Smith.
Midway through the third, the Blackhawks padded their lead as Dach was left alone in front to chip in his seventh.
Notes: It was the second meeting of the season between the two teams. Edmonton won the first game 5-2 back on Nov. 20 at Rogers Place. ... Missing from the Oilers lineup were Kris Russell (undisclosed) and Mikko Koskinen (COVID-19). ... Out for Chicago were Jonathan Toews (concussion protocol), Jujhar Khaira (lower back), Reese Johnson (clavicle), Tyler Johnson (neck), Riley Stillman (upper body), Kevin Lankinen (hand).
Blackhawks: At St. Louis on Saturday night in the middle game of a three-game trip.
Oilers: Host the New York Islanders on Friday night to finish a three-game homestand.
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