Blackhawks Fall To Oilers 3-1

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CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 18: Artemi Panarin #72 of the Chicago Blackhawks fires a shot past Eric Gryba #62 of the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center on February 18, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Oilers defeated the Blackhawks 3-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

by Scott King

Saturday night the Blackhawks played their first game back at the United Center since January 22. Chicago had a six-game road trip followed by a bye week.

The team’s last game was a 5-1 victory February 11 in Edmonton. The Oilers would get the best of the Hawks in the rematch at the Madhouse.

The Blackhawks never seemed to leave the offensive zone in the first period Saturday night. Marian Hossa and Artemi Panarin each rang one off the post. Those were just two of the Hawks’ many high quality scoring chances against the Oilers in the period. Edmonton was able to weather the storm and get through the first 0-0.

Ryan Hartman fought Eric Gryba after a big hit on Hawks forward Tanner Kero in the second period. The scrap led to a two-minute minor instigating penalty for Hartman, the usual five for fighting, and he got smacked with a ten minute game misconduct. The Oilers scored the first goal of the game shortly after on the power play.

Milan Lucic put one past Corey Crawford in the third period to make it 2-0 Oilers. Richard Panik scored late in the third to get the Hawks on the board.

League points leader and Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored on the empty net to make the final score 3-1 Edmonton. It was his first game at the United Center.

“Definitely special to play here,” said the 20-year-old scoring machine. “The building is electric, the fans are great here. They’ve had a lot of success as well. Definitely cool to play in this building.”

When asked if a team has to reach another level to play against the Hawks, McDavid answered affirmatively.

“For sure. Especially on a night like this when they’re in their own building, they’re playing comfortably and we had to find a way to squeak one out and we did.

“They must have been practicing for five days straight because they were buzzing out there. I certainly didn’t feel like that after coming off my five-day break.”

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