Crawford, Blackhawks win first game of the season 3-1 over Oilers
by Scott King
Corey Crawford got the start over Robin Lehner and looked sharp after puck drop, stopping all 12 Oilers’ shots in the first period. He would remain sharp for the rest of the game.
Patrick Kane scored the first goal of the game 4:11 into the second period, beating Edmonton goalie Mike Smith glove side with a wrist shot. Kane quickly got the shot off from a Dylan Strome pass after the Hawks won an offensive zone faceoff.
Kane has 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in his first four games to start the season.
One of the main areas of concern in Chicago’s first three games was letting their opponents take over in the second period. That wasn’t the case Monday against the red-hot Oilers, 5-0-0 heading into Chicago.
The Blackhawks had a 17-6 advantage in shots on goal over the Oilers in the second and a 32-8 advantage in shots attempted.
“We did a lot of winning things,” Colliton said of the Hawks’ second period. “We were clean with the puck. I thought our support, we really found a way to get available. We were heavy on the puck. So a lot of 50/50 situations where we’re under pressure, we didn’t allow ourself to get stripped, we just kept moving it ahead.
“We won lines. We got it deep. We changed in the offensive zone multiple times. We had great forecheck pressure. We had great back pressure. All of these things are just little ingredients, but when you do them shift in and shift out you really build momentum.
“We put pressure on them throughout the period. You don’t always get rewarded right away, but typically you do and it wears them down for the rest of the game too. That’s something we haven’t done. Again, it’s a big part of the league — how you play in the second period.”
Alexander Nylander scored his second of the season for the Hawks 6:20 into the second period.
James Neal scored his eighth goal in five games for the Oilers at 17:49 of the third and Brandon Saad answered back with an empty-net goal with 33 seconds remaining in regulation.
“I think we were doing everything good tonight,” Crawford said. “We didn’t give up a whole lot, cleared the front of the net. I was able to see pretty much everything tonight. It was a key goal by Nylander at 1-0. It was just nice to get that first one and try to build off that.”
The Hawks are now 1-2-1 in their first four games of the season.
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