SASKATOON – Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was too excited to play a shift with his brother to worry about an exhibition loss.
Toews played alongside his younger brother David in the Blackhawks’ 4-2 loss to an Edmonton Oilers split squad on Tuesday.
“It was awesome. He’s one of those guys just getting his feet wet too,” Jonathan Toews said. “That first shift was a lot of fun. It s something that doesn’t happen to too many people.”
David Toews was drafted by the New York Islanders 66th overall in the third round of the NHL entry draft in 2008. He was traded to the Blackhawks earlier this month for future considerations. The Blackhawks are hoping he has the same intensity and work ethic as his older brother.
Neither of the Toews brothers figured into the scoring, while young Oilers forward Jordan Eberle picked up where he left off. Eberle, who had five game-winning goals in his rookie campaign last season, scored the deciding goal against the Blackhawks.
Eberle broke into Chicago’s zone late in the third period and slipped the puck past Blackhawks netminder Alexander Salak.
Josh Green scored twice, including an empty netter, and Ryan Smyth also scored for Edmonton.
Rostislav Olesz and Jamal Mayers scored for Chicago.
The Oilers’ other split squad fell 4-3 to Minnesota in Edmonton.
Oilers netminder Devan Dubnyk made several saves early on to keep the game scoreless. Blackhawks veteran goaltender Ray Emery was equally impressive early on.
After a uneventful first period, Smyth who put Edmonton on the board moments into the second. After some tic-tack-toe passing by the Oilers power-play unit, Smyth gobbled up a rebound to bury the first goal of the game.
Taking a nifty pass from former Saskatoon Blades forward Curtis Hamilton Green stepped past the blue-line to fire a wrist shot past Emery and put the Oilers up 2-0.
The Blackhawks finally got on the board late in the second period.
Lingering alone in front of Edmonton’s net, Olesz was the recipient of a wayward pass in the Oilers defensive zone. Olesz quickly fired the puck past a stunned Dubnyk to bring Chicago within one midway through the second period.
The Blackhawks tied the game when prospect Mark McNeill won a battle behind the Edmonton net and slid a pass to Mayers who quickly shot it past Dubnyk.
The game marked the 17th pre-season encounter between Chicago and Edmonton. Historically the Oilers have emerged on top, leading the series 10-6 and outscoring Chicago 75-54.
Jonathan Toews thought his team could have been a little more consistent against Edmonton. Despite Edmonton’s undisciplined play, Chicago’s power play was lacklustre, failing to convert on five chances.
“It’s the first game for both teams. We made some good plays and a few sloppy plays both ways so you never know which way the game is going to go. We had our chances to win that one,” Toews said.
Chicago will now head to Pittsburgh on Thursday for an exhibition match with the Penguins, while the Oilers face the Vancouver Canucks in Edmonton the same night.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misidentified Chicago’s goaltender