CHICAGO | The Blackhawks finally got some relief and smiles Sunday night — at their own expense — in a 5-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Goal-production and victories have been a bit skimpy since New Year’s, so after racking up a vintage Hawks triumph that balanced offense, defense and quality goaltending by Antti Raanta, the hosts could laugh a bit about Patrick Kane scoring for the Oilers.
In a fluke event that happens once in a blue moon in the NHL, Kane was the last man to touch the puck on an Oilers’ short-handed goal at 11:29 of the second period.
The Hawks already were a minute into a power play on a hooking penalty on Edmonton’s Taylor Hall. Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk slashed the pesky Shaw, but the officials’ whistle had not yet blown on the delayed penalty.
While the Hawks still had the puck, Raanta was quickly dispatched to the bench so they could get another skater on the ice. Seconds later, Kane sent the puck off the boards, ostensibly to be relayed to defenseman Nick Leddy at the point. But Leddy was out of position.
Ricocheting off the boards into no-man’s land, the puck glided the length of the ice, losing speed all the way. The braking puck went right into the unmanned goal as the Oilers tallied a freaky short-handed score — tying the game 2-2 — credited to Boyd Gordon, last Oilers player to have full possession of the puck prior to Kane.
“That type of thing is rare to see,” said Marian Hossa, marking his 35 birthday. “I’ve been in the league for a long time and haven’t been part of it until now.”
Obviously, Hossa wasn’t shaken at all. A half minute later, taking advantage of the 5-on-3 situation, Hossa powered a slap shot past Dubnyk for a lead the Hawks would not relinquish, and coveted dearly after three straight losses.
Kane certainly will hear from his teammates.
“A couple of guys are going to bug him about it,” Hossa said. “Things like that are going to happen even to the best player in the world. Just a fluke goal.”
“I think I’ll get all over him in the next few days,” Shaw said.
The Hawks were happy to overcome the mid-game flukiness. They had won two of last seven games, with four overtime losses and one loss in regulation. Chicago scored more than two goals in just one of the previous six games.
Shaw, with his first goal since Dec. 28, and Ben Smith scored prior to the strange “shortie.” They were part of more line juggling by coach Joel Quenneville in an attempt to restart the lethargic offense that had been mired in a rare slump.
“You look at the last five or six (games), very close, we’re not generating as much as we did over a long stretch of games,” Quenneville said.
“Teams are going into it looking to shut you down and I think we have to be willing to play those types of games. I think we can be better in the puck areas and that’s probably the area we’re not as effective as we were most of the year.”