The Blackhawks found themselves trailing 1-0 for the fourth consecutive game when Ales Hemsky scored on the Oilers’ first shot of the game at 6:08 of the first period. This time, though, the Blackhawks’ beginning didn’t foreshadow their ending.
The Blackhawks had gone winless in three previous games after going behind. On Sunday, they responded twice to adversity -- once on that early goal and again when an own goal evened the game in the second period -- and had their most all-around game of the calendar year with a 5-3 win over the Oilers.
"We’ve been struggling a little bit lately," said Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, who had two assists. "As far as being a player, I think everyone knew we were going to come out with a good effort. Big win. It’s good to play that way where you outshoot your opponent like that, pretty much dominate the game."
The Blackhawks got a few monkeys off their back in the win. They scored their first first-period goal in six games. They scored a goal in all three regulation periods for the first time since Dec. 28. They were able to snap a three-game points slump for Kane and a six-game one for Andrew Shaw. They scored more than two goals for just the second time in seven games.
Kane was able to joke about it afterward, but he was accountable for the Oilers getting back into the game in the second period. On a delay penalty call, Blackhawks goaltender Antti Raanta skated off the ice. Moments later, Kane missed a shot on the Oilers’ net, and the puck traveled all the way around the ice and into the Blackhawks’ net to tie the game at two.
"It's funny. You're trying to score for your team, and you put one in the net for the other team," Kane said. "It's pretty crazy how that happens."
Twenty-nine seconds later, Marian Hossa made Kane feel a lot about better about his accident by scoring on a five-on-three power play to put the Blackhawks back ahead 3-2. Jonathan Toews extended his points streak to six games by scoring a goal later in the period to build a 4-2 advantage.
"The one we scored on ourselves, that’s a real weird goal," said Hossa, who had a goal and an assist on his 35th birthday. "You don’t see that that often. I’m glad we bounced back.
"It is nice to finally get a W after three losses. We were talking coming into this game we had a big game last night [a 2-1 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens], so we need to keep the shifts short. I thought we got shorter shifts, and when the game went on, we were better."
The Blackhawks controlled the puck most of the game and had 74 total shots to the Oilers’ 40. The Blackhawks led 40-21 in shots on goal.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was much more pleased after Sunday’s game than he had been in the past week.
"I liked our game," Quenneville said. "We were down early 1-0, but I still thought we had a decent first period. Scoring in the first period, too, certainly helped us and then playing most of the game with the lead after that. We had a tough stretch where we didn’t know what it felt like, so that felt good, and I thought we were OK after that as well."