The Blackhawks were routed by the Edmonton Oilers 7-3 at Rogers Place on Saturday in their final game before the bye week and All-Star break.
Here are 10 observations from the loss:
1. The first half of this game was pretty even, at least at even strength. It tilted heavily in Edmonton's favor in the second period, where the Oilers scored four unanswered goals, including three in a span of 2:33. Things escalated quickly, and the Blackhawks couldn't stop the bleeding.
2. The Blackhawks were 22-for-23 on the penalty kill over their previous eight games for a success rate of 95.7 percent. They went 1-for-3 against the Oilers, who have a hilariously lethal power play. No shame there if you're Chicago.
3. Connor McDavid had a ho-hum three-point outing with a goal and two assists. He has nine points (five goals, four assists) in three games this season against the Blackhawks, who fortunately don't have to see him again until next season. McDavid is at 92 points going into the bye week. The next-closest player? His teammate Leon Draisaitl with 76 points. Freak of nature.
4. Sam Lafferty dropped the gloves with Brett Kulak in the second period, and Lafferty seemed genuinely confused about why Kulak wanted to fight. It was a clean hit. The only thing I can think of is that Kulak thought it was late, which is fair. But it wasn't egregious. Nonetheless, it felt like the game changed after this fight.
5. During 5-on-5 action, the Blackhawks allowed 40 scoring chances and 23 high-danger chances, per Natural Stat Trick, which are both new season highs. For reference, the Blackhawks' per-60-minute average in scoring chances against is 32.8 and high-danger chances against is 13.1.
6. Jonathan Toews returned to the lineup after missing Thursday's game with a non-COVID illness. He wasn't too noticeable outside of scoring a power-play goal in the third period, and that's because he was playing sheltered minutes. He centered the third line — not the second — with Colin Blackwell and Lafferty, and barely saw any time on the penalty kill. He finished with only 15:11 of ice time. I imagine he wasn't feeling 100 percent.
7. Jason Dickinson is feeling it right now. He registered his third goal and fifth point in five games after having only four points — all assists — in his previous 30 games. He's held his own these last two games on a line with Patrick Kane.
8. Since Jan. 11, the Oilers are 7-0-1 and rank No. 1 in 5-on-5 expected Goals For percentage. They're finally starting to click, and yet they're barely inside the playoff picture right now, which leads me to the next bullet point...
9. I would be surprised if the Oilers didn't make a big splash at the trade deadline, like a Jakob Chychrun-type acquisition. This team cannot afford to miss the playoffs. These are Draisaitl and McDavid's prime years. Now is the time to go for it.
10. The Blackhawks don't play again until Tuesday, Feb. 7 due to the bye week and NHL All-Star break. Rest up, because it should be a busy news cycle when the team returns because the March 3 trade deadline will be less than a month away.
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