Edmonton Oilers

Quenneville sees Blackhawks showing a 'little bit more consistency'

Quenneville sees Blackhawks showing a 'little bit more consistency'

Teams sitting outside the playoffs at this point of the season aren't exactly known for consistency.

That's why Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said that word when talking about the team's recent play. The Blackhawks haven't won back-to-back games since a five-game winning streak in mid-December that led into the recent six-game road trip, but Quenneville had a more positive spin after Sunday's 4-1 win against Edmonton.

The Blackhawks have a 3-1-1 record in the past five games and Quenneville said he even saw positives from the only loss during that stretch, a 5-4 loss to Vegas on Friday.

"I thought we played with a real purpose, but a good response after a funny and a tough way to lose the other day," Quenneville said. "When we look back at the Rangers and these games, two out of three, a lot of good things and even that Vegas game had some good things so it's a little bit more consistency in our game."

Anton Forsberg got the start in goal after Jeff Glass was between the pipes the previous four games. Forsberg stopped 32 of 33 shots. Quenneville said it was a "big game for him."

Nick Schmaltz, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad and Jordan Oesterle scored in the win for the Blackhawks.

Watch the video above to see more from Quenneville after Sunday's win.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks overtime win over Oilers: Jeff Glass steals the show in NHL debut

Five takeaways from Blackhawks overtime win over Oilers: Jeff Glass steals the show in NHL debut

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-3 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night at Rogers Place:

1. Jeff Glass earns two points.

No time was wasted in getting the 32-year-old making his NHL debut some action. And boy was he tested from the start.

The Oilers registered 19 shots on goal in the first period, including 11 in the opening 10 minutes in which Glass stopped all of them. Jesse Puljujarvi finally cracked the code when he scored on the power play at the 14:26 mark.

Glass stopped 42 of 45 shots total (.933 save percentage), denying a handful of prime scoring chances, most notably a Leon Draisaitl breakaway a little bit past the midway point of the first period to keep it a scoreless game. The Blackhawks allowed a season-high 19 high danger scoring chances, according to naturalstattrick.com; their previous high was 13 (five times). Glass earned this victory.

It was certainly an encouraging performance, and it likely will earn him a second straight start in his hometown of Calgary against the Flames on Sunday.

2. Richard Panik's bounce-back game.

After being a healthy scratch right out of the Christmas break Thursday in Vancouver, Panik was put back on the top line with an opportunity to redeem himself and rekindle that chemistry with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. His biggest moment in the game came at the 13:38 mark of the second period when he drew a holding penalty that was really close to being a penalty shot.

Fortunately for the Blackhawks, Darnell Nurse was given a two-minute minor instead and it turned out to be a good thing.

Just 20 seconds into it, it appeared the Oilers would exit the zone for a potential odd man rush the other way but Duncan Keith made a Norris Trophy-type play when he pokechecked the puck to keep it in inside the zone, Nick Schmaltz picked it up, then fed it to Alex DeBrincat, who buried the team's first of two power-play goals of the night.

Panik logged 13:47 of ice time — his most since Nov. 27 — had three shot attempts (two on goal) and tied Lance Bouma for the team lead with five hits.

3. Ryan Hartman turns in arguably his best game of the season.

The one thing the Blackhawks have preached all season but haven't done on a consistent basis is providing net front presence to make it difficult on the goaltenders to see the initial shots and to also clean up second opportunities. And that's exactly how the Blackhawks got two of their four goals.

In the final minute of the opening frame, Schmaltz received a pass from Patrick Kane as they weaved into the offensive zone, then passed it right back to Kane who fired off a 27-foot wrist shot that was denied by Cam Talbot. But Hartman was driving hard to the net and stopped in the crease on a dime, then smacked in the rebound to even up the score at 1-1.

It was Hartman's second goal in as many games and third in his past five after going goalless in his previous 17 contests. With Artem Anisimov (upper body) being placed on injured reserve, the Blackhawks are searching for others to step up in the net-front presence department and Hartman needs to be one of those guys. He did that in this one.

Hartman also logged his third-most ice time (17:23) of the season, and played an important role on the Blackhawks' third goal of the game mentioned below.

4. Jordan Oesterle scores well-deserved first NHL goal.

It took 37 games, but Oesterle is on the board and it was a fitting way to score his first career NHL goal.

Nine seconds into the Blackhawks' third power play of the game at 8:28, Oesterle blasted a shot from the point that got past Talbot with the help of Hartman, who provided the screen in front, to put the Blackhawks up 3-1. This coming one night after Oesterle registered a season-high six shots on goal in Vancouver.

He had just two in this one, but it's the one that found the back of the net that counted and it has to be noted that he finished with eight shot attempts (six missed the net). What better way to score your first goal against the team you spent your first three seasons with?

And to cap it off, he finished with a season-high 25:08 of ice time and a career-high seven blocked shots that led the team. It was an all-around great effort and well-deserved night for the 25-year-old defenseman.

5. Nick Schmaltz steps up in Artem Anisimov's absence.

The Blackhawks desperately needed — and need — Schmaltz to carry the load with Anisimov sidelined, and he didn't disappoint. In fact, he had his best game in a long time.

Schmaltz assisted on three of the Blackhawks' four goals, including the overtime winner by Kane, to put him at eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last eight games. It was his fourth three-point game of the season, and it comes at a perfect tiime.

His faceoff percentage — he went 2-for-8 (25 percent) mostly going up against Connor McDavid — remains a work in progress, but if he plays the way he did tonight going forward, the Blackhawks will be in decent shape until Anisimov returns.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to end skid vs. Oilers


Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to end skid vs. Oilers

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Edmonton Oilers Friday night on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Who will step up in Artem Anisimov's absence?

After suffering an upper-body injury in the first period of Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, it doesn't sound like the veteran center will be ready to play tonight in Edmonton. In his absence last night, Nick Schmaltz went from left wing to center on the second line while David Kampf and Tommy Wingels continued to center the third and fourth lines, respectively.

Against a quick Oilers team and his ability to play any of the three forward positions, it's probably more likely Vinnie Hinostroza draws back into the lineup over Richard Panik, although it's also possible there could be more than one lineup change. The opportunity for somebody to step up in a big way is there, but will anybody take it, and if so, who?

2. One captain heating up, another trying to end a drought.

Jonathan Toews was one of the best forwards on the ice against Vancouver, with the Blackhawks registering 19 shot attempts for and only six against when he was on the ice at 5-on-5, but he failed to get on the scoresheet for the fifth straight contest. It's his longest point drought of the season, and it's not a coincidence that the Blackhawks have lost three in a row during that stretch either.

Meanwhile, Connor McDavid hasn't gone more than a game this season without recording at least a point, and he's coming in on a three-game point streak (two goals, three assists). He assisted on both goals in Edmonton's first meeting against the Blackhawks, a 2-1 overtime win at the United Center on Oct. 19. He also gave us maybe the highlight of the year with one of the prettiest assists you'll ever see.

3. Oilers getting healthy.

Since Cam Talbot returned from injury, the Oilers have won four of their last five games and they're starting to get healthy on the back end as well. 

Adam Larsson started the month on injured reserve with an upper-body injury but returned Dec. 18 and has played in four games since being activated.

Andrej Sekera made his season debut last week after spending the past six-plus months recovering from an ACL injury he suffered in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in May.

And Oscar Klefbom, who has missed three games with a nagging shoulder injury, is expected to return tonight, meaning the Oilers will be at full strength on the blue line for the first time all season. Exactly what the Blackhawks couldn't afford to run into as they look to snap a three-game losing streak.