Blackhawks top Oilers on Vermette's shootout goal

Brian Hedger  - Correspondent | Saturday, 03.07.2015 / 2:06 AM

CHICAGO -- It took all of two games for center Antoine Vermette to come up big for the Chicago Blackhawks.

In his second game since being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes, Vermette's goal in the third round of a shootout gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 victory against the Edmonton Oilers at United Center on Friday.

After heeding some advice from Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, Vermette tucked the puck between the pads of goalie Ben Scrivens to end the game. It gave him a memorable moment in the Windy City, and gave the Blackhawks (39-21-5) an important second point.

"I was coming in, approaching the goalie and trying to see my options," said Vermette, who is now 5-for-9 in shootout attempts this season. "[Toews] said something before I jumped on there, that he saw maybe, and it kind of got my attention. It worked out."

Toews told him about the five-hole being open, and that's all it took for Vermette to help erase a night when the Blackhawks were outplayed for long stretches. Corey Crawford made a career-high 46 saves through overtime and denied all three Edmonton shooters in the tiebreaker.

Edmonton (18-36-11) lost its third straight game despite outshooting Chicago 47-39, including 5-2 in overtime. Crawford held the Blackhawks in the game and made saves against Derek Roy, Jordan Eberle and Teddy Purcell in the shootout.

Toews and left wing Patrick Sharp were denied by Scrivens in the first two rounds before Vermette's goal gave Chicago its ninth victory in 12 shootouts this season. The Blackhawks pulled within two points of the St. Louis Blues for second in the Central Division and stayed four points ahead of the Minnesota Wild, who won 3-1 at the Carolina Hurricanes earlier Friday.

Vermette has adjusted quickly to being in a chase for positioning in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, after spending most of the season with the non-contending Coyotes.

"It doesn't matter how you do it," Vermette said. "We stayed with it. It's very refreshing [from where] I'm coming from on [my] previous team, obviously. It's definitely a position you want to be as a player and I'm very happy to be here right now."

Edmonton rebounded with a solid effort after a 5-2 home loss Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings. The Oilers nearly made Roy's goal at 15:15 of the first period stand up for a win thanks to Scrivens, who was sharp.

"We battled all game long," Roy said. "I think we had 47 shots on net and we did a good job generating offense on a good hockey team. They're a good club over there. They picked up some guys at the [NHL Trade Deadline] and we stuck with them and played hard."

The Blackhawks got their goal at 13:58 of the third, when defenseman Brent Seabrook scored his eighth of the season on a slap shot from the blue line that puck sailed past three Edmonton players in the slot who screened their own goalie.

A couple of other close calls happened in the waning moments of regulation, but the game went to overtime. Crawford and Scrivens again stole the show before time expired.

"We both made some key saves throughout the game," Crawford said. "I think it was just a fun hockey game to play in, and fast paced."

The Oilers carried the play to the Blackhawks in the first by carrying the puck for most of the period. They took a 1-0 lead on Roy's goal, outshot Chicago 18-12 and would have led by more if not for Crawford.

The lone power play of the opening period belonged to the Blackhawks, and it was symbolic of how things went for them during much of the opening 20 minutes. They didn't get a shot on goal and allowed Edmonton to two shots while shorthanded.

Roy's goal rewarded the Oilers' hard work in the offensive zone, after right wing Nail Yakupov beat Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith in a puck battle behind the net and sent a feed to the low slot. Roy got to the puck first, wheeled and fired into a wide opening behind Crawford for his seventh goal.

It was his second against Chicago this season and fourth point.

"The guys were good tonight," Oilers interim coach Todd Nelson said. "All 20 guys played hard, starting with [Scrivens]. He had an outstanding game, but I thought our whole team played well. Crawford played outstanding. It was just a good hockey game to watch. I think it was a lot of fun for the fans."

Scoring Summary
1st Period
15:15EDM Derek Roy (7) ASST: Nail Yakupov (13) 1 - 0 EDM
2nd Period
3rd Period
13:58CHI Brent Seabrook (8) ASST: Jonathan Toews (33), Marian Hossa (30) 1 - 1 Tie
OT Period
1EDMDerek Roy - Save
2CHIJonathan Toews - Save
3EDMJordan Eberle - Save
4CHIPatrick Sharp - Save
5EDMTeddy Purcell - Save
6CHIAntoine Vermette - Goal
Shootout Summary
RNDEdmonton OilersChicago Blackhawks
1Derek RoyJonathan Toews
2Jordan EberlePatrick Sharp
3Teddy PurcellAntoine Vermette
Three Stars of the Game
Corey Crawford
SA: 47TOI: 64:53
GA: 1EV: 44-45
PIM: 0PP: 0-0
SV%: .979SH: 2-2
Ben Scrivens
SA: 39TOI: 65:00
GA: 1EV: 37-38
PIM: 0PP: 1-1
SV%: .974SH: 0-0
Brent Seabrook
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 0Hits: 2
PTS: 1PIM: 2
+/-: 1TOI: 25:05
Penalty Summary
1st Period
11:36EDM Justin Schultz  Hi-sticking against  Brandon Saad
2nd Period
00:38EDM Martin Marincin  Holding against  Patrick Sharp
3rd Period
OT Period
04:55EDM Derek Roy  Embellishment against  Brent Seabrook
04:55CHI Brent Seabrook  Hooking against  Derek Roy
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays0/00/2
Faceoff Wins2438
Blocked Shots2220
Penalty Minutes62
5M. FayneD00-11023:14
8D. RoyC1015221:07
10N. YakupovR0113018:57
12R. KlinkhammerL00-1009:59
14J. EberleR0003019:32
16T. PurcellR0014020:11
19J. SchultzD0013225:59
20L. GazdicL000306:42
21A. FerenceD00-10018:05
23M. HendricksL00-14016:07
27B. GordonC00-10011:29
28M. FraserR0003011:01
48R. HamiltonL0000011:19
67B. PouliotL0005018:16
82J. OesterleD0002013:26
84O. KlefbomD0017026:46
85M. MarincinD0001222:42
30B. Scrivens3839.97465:00
2D. KeithD00-11026:47
4N. HjalmarssonD0012024:55
5D. RundbladD00-12013:42
7B. SeabrookD1014225:05
10P. SharpL0006019:03
11A. DesjardinsL000209:14
16M. KrugerC0003012:44
19J. ToewsC0103019:30
20B. SaadL0000020:15
23K. VersteegR0001018:55
29B. BickellL0001010:36
32M. RozsivalD0001022:44
42J. NordstromL0001011:25
44K. TimonenD0000014:49
65A. ShawR0002016:17
80A. VermetteC0001018:58
81M. HossaR0104019:54
91B. RichardsC0005015:09
50C. Crawford4647.97964:53