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game recap

Blackhawks hang on against Oilers for first win

Neal scores for Edmonton, which loses after starting season with five straight victories

by Scott King / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Nylander slips puck by Smith

EDM@CHI: Nylander sneaks one five-hole to extend lead

Alexander Nylander races after the loose puck and slides it under Mike Smith's pads, giving the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead in the 3rd period

  • 00:58 •

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks won their first game of the season and handed the Edmonton Oilers their first loss, 3-1 at United Center on Monday.

Corey Crawford made 27 saves, and Patrick Kane, Alexander Nylander and Brandon Saad scored for the Blackhawks (1-2-1).

"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."

 

[WATCH: All Oilers vs. Blackhawks highlights]

 

After Ryan Carpenter's dump-in from the neutral zone got knocked down, the puck trickled toward the right corner in the Oilers zone. Goalie Mike Smith started toward it and was out of his crease when Nylander got to it in the bottom of the face-off circle and shot five-hole for a 2-0 lead at 6:20 of the third period.

James Neal scored a power-play goal late in the third for Edmonton (5-1-0). He has eight goals, one more than he had in 63 games for the Calgary Flames last season.

Video: EDM@CHI: Neal roofs Nugent-Hopkins' dish for PPG

"In close games, you can't make mistakes that are going to cost your team an opportunity to stay in it, and that's what happened there at the end," said Smith, who made 32 saves. "Honest mistake there. I thought the puck was moving faster than it was, got out of my net, and by the time I realized it wasn't getting to me, I was in trouble.

"Obviously, it's disappointing. We go back and get a goal there on the power play, and that (Nylander) goal turns into a pretty big mistake. Obviously, that's disappointing. You're disappointed in yourself when that happens. You let the team down, but you move on. We had a good road trip, so we'll go home and regroup here."

Oilers center Connor McDavid's five-game point streak ended (12 points; four goals, eight assists).

Kane gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 4:11 of the second period, scoring with a quick shot from the left circle off a Dylan Strome face-off win.

Video: EDM@CHI: Kane wires home wrist shot from circle

Neal got the Oilers within 2-1 at 17:49 when he tapped in a cross-crease pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

"In order for us to be a good team going forward, we know that we have to be able to win those low-scoring games," Chicago defenseman Connor Murphy said. "And when it comes down to playing against good teams too, you got to be able to keep it low-scoring and keep it simple."

Saad scored into an empty net with 33 seconds left for the 3-1 final. It was his 150th NHL goal.

 

They said it

"Thought we had a lot of good looks, a couple breakaways early, 2-on-1s and whatnot. Credit to [Corey] Crawford. He was solid and made the save when he needed to. Thought we had some chances early in the third to make it a 1-1 game. We didn't finish. That second one hurts, but I thought I did a good job of finding one and giving myself a chance." -- Oilers captain Connor McDavid

"It's repeatable. We're trying to build something we can sustain night in and night out and against good opponents. It's early in the year certainly, but they're a team that's had a lot of success. I thought we closed down the game quite well. Now it's up to us to find a way to bring that type of performance over and over again and we can have some success." -- Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton

 

Need to know

Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl has four goals and eight assists during a six-game point streak. ... The Blackhawks are 14-5-2 in their past 21 games against the Oilers. ... With Edmonton's loss, the Colorado Avalanche (5-0-0) are the only undefeated team in the NHL.

 

What's next

Oilers: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, NBCSP, NHL.TV)

Blackhawks: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NBCSCH, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Video: Blackhawks top Oilers for first win of season

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