The Blackhawks looked like a better team when the puck dropped on Sunday night. Artem Anisimov, who missed part of the second and all of the third period in New Jersey, was back on the second line between Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin.
But more importantly, Marian Hossa was back on the top line with Jonathan Toews.
The Toews line started the game, but it took only 58 seconds and one line change for the Hawks to get on the board as Kane found Panarin and the rookie made it count.
Chicago carried the action for most of the opening 20 minutes, and Panarin added another goal with 2:25 remiaining in the first.
According to Elias, Panarin became the first Blackhawks rookie to score twice in a first period since Jonathan Toews on Feb. 14, 2008.
For as good as the Hawks looked for much of the first, Corey Crawford was the only reason the Hawks maintained a lead through the second. The ugly turnovers that have plagued the team in recent losses returned, but Crawford stood tall in between the pipes – even after he was involved in a collision with Benoit Pouliot behind the Hawks net.
Edmonton out-shot the Hawks 22-6 in the second period, but the Hawks maintained a 2-0 lead because of a stellar period from Crawford.
When the Oilers got their first power play of the game (with Viktor Tikhonov in the box), Jordan Eberle was able to beat Crawford to cut the lead in half. The primary assist on Eberle’s goal is the 200th career point for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
The two teams skated back and forth for ten minutes with the most exciting moment being a piece of padding floating down from the interior of the United Center’s roof in the middle of the period. But at 13:28, Kane scored his tenth goal of the season to extend the lead to 3-1 and give Kane a three-point night.
With his assist on Kane’s goal, Anisimov also picked up his 200th career NHL point.
Edmonton pulled Cam Talbot with just under three minutes left in regulation and were able to cut into the Hawks’ lead. Andrej Sekera was able to beat Crawford at 18:09 for his first of the season.
The Oilers put pressure on the Blackhawks with Talbot on the bench, but a pass out of the defensive zone turned into a race between Hossa and Oscar Klefbom. The rookie held Hossa’s stick and was sent to the penalty box with less than 15 seconds left.
And the Hawks made the Oilers pay on the brief power play as Niklas Hjalmarsson found Kane, who dished the puck to Anisimov for the nail in the coffin. The assist was Kane’s third of the night and fourth point in the victory.
Crawford allowed two goals against 36 shots to earn the win after two subpar performances in a row. Toews won 17 of 26 at the dot while Hossa picked up three hits in 19:03 on the ice in his first game back.