Rapid Reaction: Oilers 4, Hawks 3
How it Happened: The Hawks were sailing along with a 1-0 lead on Jonathan Toews' 22nd goal of the season but the whole night changed when Dan Carcillo nailed Tom Gilbert hard into the end boards behind the Oilers' net as both were chasing the puck in the second period. He was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for boarding and limped off the ice favoring his left leg or knee as well. Gilbert also left the game with a knee injury. Edmonton promptly scored two goals on the ensuing power play, by Ryan Smyth and Taylor Hall, and took control of the game. The referees did miss a high sticking infraction on Edmonton as Niklas Hjalmarsson was hit high, losing his stick. In recovery Hall was able to score. The Hawks briefly tied it on an Andrew Brunette tip-in of a Hjalmarsson shot but Andy Sutton gave the lead back to Edmonton with the Hawks third defense pair on the ice. Ben Eager padded the lead with a back-hand shot that got by Corey Crawford, a goal he should have saved. Jimmy Hayes closed the gap with his first NHL goal but the Hawks power play failed them missing on several chances in the third period and going scoreless for the night.
What it means: The loss itself doesn’t have that much meaning except the lowly Oilers won just their sixth road game against 14 defeats. Carcillo will be heavily punished when the league reviews the play but his injury could hurt his season worse. He limped off, putting little weight on his left leg. The Hawks power play has taken center stage as its struggles from early in the season have returned. The Hawks closed the gap with a third period tally just after a four minute power play expired but another man-advantage try just after that goal produced nothing. It’s hard to know the outcome of the game if Carcillo doesn’t deliver his illegal hit. It changed the momentum and feel for the night.
Carcillo suspension?: The league will undoubtedly review his hit on Gilbert and act accordingly. He didn’t play the puck, extended his arms, caused injury and has a history of suspensions so Carcillo could be facing lengthy time away from the ice.
What’s next: The Hawks take on the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday in their first game in Philadelphia since Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup finals, won by the Hawks.