Thanks in large part to Daniel Carcillo’s awful decision making, the Blackhawks lost their first game of the new calendar year.
Leading 1-0 early in the second period, Carcillo slammed Tom Gilbert into the boards. Carcillo was hit with a five minute major penalty for boarding as well as a game misconduct, though he would have left the game with an apparent leg injury anyway (see photo).
The power play that resulted from Carcillo’s stupidity saw the Oilers score twice to take the lead, and the momentum was on Edmonton’s side the rest of the night.
On the positive side of things, rookie Jimmy Hayes scored his first NHL goal to get the Blackhawks back to within one late in the third period. Hayes was limited to six shifts in the first two periods, but came on strong at the end of the game. Coach Joel Quenneville rewarded the rookie with 59 seconds of power play time in the game’s final moments.
Edmonton leaves Chicago banged up. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins left the game during the first period with a shoulder injury and did not return. Gilbert did not return after the Carcillo hit, and Shawn Horcoff appeared to get hurt in the third period as well. Despite their injuries, the Oilers leave Chicago with a victory as well.
The officiating in the game was mediocre with a number of missed calls, including a high stick into the face of Niklas Hjalmarsson by Taylor Hall the led to Hall scoring the Oilers’ first goal.
But the painful reality for the Blackhawks on this night was that they simply weren’t good enough to win a game. Chicago battled back to tie the game at two, but then allowed goals to Andy Sutton and Ben Eager to dig a hole too deep to escape. It was Sutton’s second goal of the season, and the third for Eager.
The Hawks received six minutes of power play time in the game’s final 10 minutes but couldn’t capitalize. In total, the Blackhawks failed to convert on five power play opportunities on the night.
Jonathan Toews and Andrew Brunette scored the other two goals for Chicago. Nick Leddy blocked four shots in 27:59 in the game, while Brent Seabrook blocked a team-high six and was credited with three hits in “only” 26:23 on the ice. Duncan Keith skated a team-high 29:39, blocking one shot in the game.