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Blackhawks halt Oilers streak

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Marty Reasoner had the best scoring chance early in the game with a pair of backhands on Blackhawks starting goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin in the slot but the Chicago netminder made a pair of nice pad saves.

Coming back the other way, former Oilers farmhand Martin St. Pierre had a chance in the slot and was stopped by Dwayne Roloson.

Chicago struck for the game's first goal 8:26 into the game. Lasse Kukkonen's shot from the point was blocked in front but Tuomo Ruutu was there there to scoop up the loose puck and sweep it past Roloson.

The Blackhawks continued their dominance of the game and eventually scored again to double their lead to 2-0. Jim Vandermeer's shot off the rush was stopped by Roloson but Martin Havlat was right there to pick up the rebound. He fed the puck over to Bryan Smolinski, who put the puck in the open side.

A power play late in the first for the Blackhawks threatened to blow the game wide open but the play of the Oilers' penalty killers - in particular Shawn Horcoff and Toby Petersen - kept it a two-goal game.

Edmonton's penalty parade continued when Jarret Stoll was sent off for hooking with 22.1 seconds left in the opening frame. The Blackhawks went on their fifth power play of the period as a result.

After 20 minutes, shots on goal were 12-5 for Chicago.

The Oilers started the period on the penalty kill as a result of the Stoll penalty and one second into the period, Horcoff hauled down Ruutu to give the Blackhawks their second five-on-three of the night.

However, despite the two-man disadvantage, the league's top-ranked penalty kill unit killed off their fifth and sixth penalties of the game.

About a minute later, Horcoff went to the box again putting the Oilers down a man for the seventh time.

While shorthanded, Toby Petersen picked up a Jason Smith clearing attempt and raced down the ice. He attempted to deke out Khabibulin but couldn't get the puck over his outstretched right pad.

Seconds after that penalty expired, Stoll picked up the puck in the neutral zone and cut through the Blackhawks defence to head in alone on the breakaway. He was hauled down by Jassen Cullimore and received a penalty shot as a result.

On the penalty shot, Stoll came in slowly before wristing it from the slot. He beat the Blackhawks netminder low through the five hole to make it a 2-1 game.

The Oilers looked to have tied it up on a delayed penalty on a goal by Horcoff but the officials ruled that Khabibulin had enough possession of the puck to warrant blowing the whistle.

On the ensuing power play - Edmonton's first of the game to Chicago's seven - the Oilers moved the puck well but could not convert. Jarret Stoll had two of the best chances, ringing a one-timer off the post on two occasions from the left point.

Petersen had another great chance to tie the game with about six minutes left in the second. Pouliot jammed the net and the puck squirted out to Petersen in front of the net. He wristed the puck on goal but Khabibulin made an unbelievable glove save to keep his team in front.

Chicago went back on the power play for the eighth and ninth times on the night after penalties to Pouliot and Jason Smith 30 seconds apart gave the Blackhawks their third five-on-three of the game.

Once again, the Oilers were able to kill off the two-man power play thanks to some solid goaltending by Dwayne Roloson but also great positional killing from the trio of Stoll, Steve Staios and Ladislav Smid.

With just over a minute to go in the second, the Oilers went on a two-man advantage of their own, although it was brief.

Shots on goal were 22-15 for Chicago after two periods of play.

Havlat scored early in period three to restore Chicago's two-goal lead. Horcoff tried to find Daniel Tjarnqvist at the point but the puck went out of the zone, sending Havlat in alone. He cut in towards the Edmonton goal before backhanding it high over Roloson to make it a 3-1 game.

Marc-Andre Bergeron blasted a shot from the left point that rang off the post with about five minutes to play in the game as Edmonton pressed to get back into it.

The Oilers also had a power play late in the game but could not convert. Chicago's Denis Arkhipov scored an empty-netter to seal the deal.
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