After a surprising start this season—including a six-game winning streak—Edmonton looks to be losing steam.
Jonathan Toews and Steve Montador each scored twice to help the Blackhawks beat the Oilers 6-3 on Sunday night to hand Edmonton its third straight loss and fourth defeat in five games.
Oilers coach Tom Renney slammed his team’s performance as “awful.”
“I don’t think they realize yet what it takes to win on a nightly basis,” Renney said. “We have a couple of rungs to go and it starts in your own head.
“We understand the depth of the people we’re playing and the experience they’ve had with winning and we’re still working on that. But there’s no excuses. We needed to man up tonight and we didn’t do it.”
The Oilers completed a six-game trip, going 2-4-0 on the swing.
Duncan Keith had a goal and assist for Chicago (11-4-3). Daniel Carcillo capped the scoring with an empty-net goal.
The Blackhawks, one of the NHL’s quickest and most-skilled teams, have 16 goals during the winning streak.
They hope the burst will provide momentum as they embark on a six-game “circus” trip that will keep them away from the United Center, where they’re 7-1-2, until Nov. 29.
“It’s great for everyone’s confidence to see different guys score,” Toews said. “I don’t think it matters to anybody who scores as long as we find a way.”
Montador, a defenceman playing his 10th NHL season, had his first two-goal game.
“It was important we finish this homestand right,” Montador said. “We’re still learning, still making mistakes and learning from them.”
He beat Oilers centre Lennart Petrell with a nifty move to score the first one. Montador notched his second playing in a forward spot—and parked in the slot—on a power play.
Acquired by Chicago in the off-season, Montador has made a career as a physical, stay-at-home defenceman. But in his last three games, he has three goals.
“He’s had a couple of good games,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “That first goal was pretty remarkable for a defenceman.”
Ryan Smyth, Jordan Eberle and Shawn Horcoff scored for the Oilers (9-6-2).
Elsewhere in the NHL, it was: Vancouver 4 N.Y. Islanders 1; Philadelphia 3 Florida 2; and Minnesota 3 Anaheim 2.
At Chicago, Edmonton goalie Nikolai Khabibulin surrendered a season-high five goals on 34 shots and lost his second straight game in regulation after starting the season 7-0-2.
The Blackhawks came out firing at Khabibulin, who played four seasons in Chicago before signing as a free agent with Edmonton in July 2009.
“(Khabibulin) is one of those goalies where if he stops a couple of big ones early, he can get got and steal a game from you,” Toews said. “You don’t want to let that happen, so we stayed on him.”
Khabibulin, who entered the game with an NHL-leading 1.18 goals-against average and .957 save percentage, has allowed eight goals in the consecutive losses after permitting just nine in his first nine games.
Chicago’s Corey Crawford made 20 saves.
Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook sustained a lower-body injury in the second period and didn’t return.
The Blackhawks jumped ahead 2-0 early in the first on goals by Toews and Montador just 36 seconds apart.
Toews opened the scoring 4:55 in when he circled the net and lofted a shot over Khabibulin’s glove. Montador made it 2-0 at 5:29 when he skated around Petrell and plowed to the net.
Smyth cut it to 2-1 midway through the first by cutting to the net and stuffing a shot under Crawford. But Montador deflected in a power-play goal from the slot with 3:49 left in the period to make it 3-1.
Toews struck again 22 seconds into the second and extended Chicago’s lead to 4-1 by banging a loose puck past Khabibulin’s outstretched left pad.
Eberle finished a breakaway with a backhand shot at 6:17 to cut it to 4-2, but Keith connected 1:30 later on a screened drive from the left point at restore the Blackhawks’ three-goal lead.
Horcoff’s power-play goal, on a tip in, cut it to 5-3 with 45 seconds left in the second.
Carcillo added an empty-net goal with 1:45 left in the third to complete the scoring.
Flyers 3, Panthers 2
At Sunrise, Fla., Danny Briere, Braydon Coburn and Matt Read scored and Ilya Bryzgalov made 31 saves in Philadelphia’s victory over Florida.
Wild 3, Ducks 2
At Anaheim, Calif., Matt Cullen and Jared Spurgeon scored 3:21 apart in the first period, Kyle Brodziak also found the net and Nicklas Backstrom made 32 saves in Minnesota’s victory over the Ducks.
Canucks 4, Islanders 1
At Vancouver, Roberto Luongo made 23 saves to help the Canucks beat New York.
Aaron Rome had a goal and two assists, Cody Hodgson and David Booth each had a goal and an assist, and Henrik Sedin also scored for Vancouver, coming off a six-game trip.