CHICAGO -- Instead of revenge, the Chicago Blackhawks were on the receiving end of another bitter loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night.
The only good news is that this time, it wasn't a blowout -- like the 9-2 drubbing they took on Nov. 19 at Rexall Place in Edmonton. Meanwhile, the two main goats of the Oilers' loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday made amends in the 4-3 victory at the United Center to snap a three-game losing streak.
Devan Dubnyk picked up the win in net and held off a furious late rally by Chicago in the third period -- including six minutes worth of power plays to kill off -- while former Blackhawks forward Ben Eager scored the eventual game-winner early in the third to put the Oilers up by two goals.
Against the Islanders, Dubnyk didn't have a good start and allowed four goals to get past him, while Eager's two roughing minors plus a 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct call led to a pair of big goals that put the Oilers (16-19-3) in a bad spot.
"Obviously last game was disappointing and I wasn't happy with how I played," said Eager, who backhanded a shot past Corey Crawford at 8:17 of the third to make it 4-2. "Whenever you cost the team a game with bad penalties … it would have been nice to play the next day, but I was able to bounce back. I wanted to come with a good effort and it was nice to score a goal. It turned out to be a big one."
It also came at the expense of former teammate Duncan Keith, whom Eager got plenty of work against while he was with the Blackhawks.
"I had some pretty good speed," said Eager, who got a pass from Jeff Petry after the Hawks turned it over near the Edmonton blue line. "I think it was Duncan Keith. I've gone against him in practice, what, a thousand times and I never beat him. So it was nice to see that one go in, for sure."
Ryan Smyth, Taylor Hall and Andy Sutton also scored for the Oilers -- who've now beaten the Hawks two straight times after beating them twice in Chicago a year ago and blowing them out in November. That was the game that set the stage for this one, as the Hawks said they'd use the "humiliating" loss as motivation.
Instead, the Oilers met their intensity and took another swing at the hornet’s nest -- showing they wouldn't just lie down and take a beating against a team that’s now tied for the most points in the League (52).
"It means a lot, but it doesn't mean anything if you don't build on it and make something happen (Tuesday) night in Buffalo," Edmonton coach Tom Renney said. "The only way we were going to beat them is by playing together and sticking to a game plan -- and we did that. Special teams again were outstanding, as they have been pretty much all year. Goaltending was solid. The guys just really stuck with it."
The Hawks (24-11-4) couldn't say the same after going 0-for-5 on the power play and scoring just once in their last 22 opportunities with the man-advantage. Edmonton, meanwhile, scored twice in its five power plays -- getting the two goals during a five-minute boarding major assessed to Chicago forward Daniel Carcillo in the second.
The Hawks led 1-0 when Carcillo made the hit, which he injured himself making, but the Oilers capitalized with the goals by Smyth and Hall to take the lead -- with Hall's being somewhat controversial after he appeared to high-stick Niklas Hjalmarsson in the face just a few seconds before getting the puck to shoot.
Andrew Brunette tied it up 2-2 in the second by tipping a point-blast by Hjalmarsson past Dubnyk, but Sutton benefited from a Hawks' defensive lapse in the defensive zone to bury his second goal of the season. He fired a quick wrister from the slot after a pass from Jordan Eberle to make it 3-2 at the second intermission.
Eager then scored almost halfway through the third before Chicago rookie Jimmy Hayes scored his first NHL goal to cut the deficit to one goal with 3:47 left in regulation. Ryan Jones was then called for interfering with Crawford to give the Hawks a late power play, but Dubnyk was up to the task and the Oilers killed it off for the win.
"Certainly winning the game was a priority," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "That was what it was all about. That's how you get revenge. We didn't tonight."
Patrick Kane, who assisted on Brunette’s goal, expanded on that sentiment.
"We're not happy, that's for sure," Kane said. "It's a team we should beat. It's tough giving up two when you're up 1-0 there, on a penalty kill … five minutes. That kind of changed the momentum of the game, but there's still no excuse to lose to a team like that."
Kane said the Hawks might've been a little too caught up in paying the Oilers back for that seven-goal blowout rather than earning any kind of win and two points.
"Maybe we just thought we were going to come in and do the same thing they did to us last game," he said. "But it's not going to happen in the NHL, especially when you have that mindset. I think the most important thing was trying to come in and get two points and then work our way to becoming a better team after that. But, obviously, that didn't happen tonight."
Hawks captain Jonathan Toews scored his 22nd goal of the season to give Chicago a 1-0 lead in the first, but got cut on a high stick while trying to deliver a hit to Eric Belanger midway through the third. Toews finished the game with a butterfly bandage on his lip.
Carcillo was hurt -- perhaps seriously -- making his hit on Tom Gilbert, who was also hurt on the play and didn’t return with a lower-body injury. Edmonton star rookie center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also left the game in the first period and didn't return with an upper-body injury that occurred when he appeared to catch an edge in the ice and fell hard.
"Wins often do come with a price," said Renney, whose team had gone 7-17-1 in its previous 25 games. "The guys that are healthy are the guys that will work to make the difference for us moving forward, and we'll assess where we are with the injured fellas and move on."