EDMONTON — Just when you thought things couldn’t get much worse for the Edmonton Oilers, the Chicago Blackhawks come to town and hand the team its seventh straight loss at home.
Marian Hossa had a goal and three assists and Jonathan Toews added a pair of goals as Chicago scored early and often in a 7-1 drubbing on Saturday.
David Perron scored the lone goal for the Oilers (6-13-2), who have lost six straight overall. Edmonton has yet to win a game against Western Conference opponents, dropping to 0-10-1.
“That’s about as long a game as I can ever remember, since I played pro hockey or coached,” said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. “We come out there, the Chicago Blackhawks are here, our players were energized, our fans were energized, they dropped the puck and there was great energy on the ice.
“But when the first two shots go in the net, that will suck the life out of a team that has been struggling and trying to get through this.”
Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said no team can afford to squander as many home games as his team has of late.
“We had five straight games at home and we didn’t take advantage of it,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “It’s unacceptable. It’s not like we gave them a ton of chances, but we gave them really, really high scoring chances, made some big mistakes.
“It was 2-0 before we even know what happened. Then they started to feel really good about themselves and started to take it to us.”
Edmonton assistant captain Taylor Hall said calling the situation frustrating almost doesn’t cut it.
“It’s probably the highest it’s ever been since I’ve been here,” he said. “We’re frustrated, the fans are frustrated, I think everyone is.
“It’s on us, that’s about all you can say. We try and regroup as best we can. It’s our fault as players and we’re going to have to make up for that.”
Marcus Kruger, Kris Versteeg, Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane also scored for the Blackhawks (12-7-1), who have won three in a row and five of their last six.
The Hawks are also 2-0 to start a six-game road trip.
“It’s an excellent start to our road trip,” said Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville. “I like the way we have played and the way we are getting our four-line rotation. We have got some momentum going right now.”
Hossa’s four-point night was his best in a Blackhawks uniform and it helped him out of a scoring slump.
“After nine games without scoring, it is always a relief to get one,” Hossa said. “I have felt good on the ice of late and haven’t really been worried about not scoring, as long as I am playing my game. It obviously feels nice to get a goal after a long time.”
Antti Raanta was expected to get the start in net for Chicago but came down with an illness before the game, forcing Corey Crawford to play in goal without a backup on the bench.
“You have to be ready for anything,” Crawford said. “I have learned throughout the years that anything can happen. It didn’t really change anything with my preparation.
“I felt we were solid all around tonight. We worked hard and made the right plays to get our chances and finished it off with a bunch of skill. It was a good game for us.”
The Blackhawks took complete control of the game in the early stages with two goals on their first two shots.
Four minutes into the first period, Brandon Saad made a nice cross-ice pass to a wide-open Toews, who switched from his backhand on a deke before sliding the puck through the legs of Oilers starting goalie Ben Scrivens for his eighth goal of the season.
Just 55 seconds later Edmonton defender Justin Schultz made a soft no-look backhand attempt to clear the puck and it was picked off by Kruger, who beat Scrivens with a hard one-timer up high to make it 2-0.
Chicago took a three-goal lead with four minutes left in the opening frame as Hossa out-hustled the Oilers to a puck in the corner and sent it back to Seabrook, who sent a slapshot through traffic that Toews got a piece of on the way into the net.
The Hawks had just eight shots in the first period against five by the Oilers.
Chicago took a 4-0 lead just over a minute into the second period on a two-man advantage. The puck dribbled underneath Scrivens and was headed into the net before Oilers defender Andrew Ference gave it a helping hand in a goal that was credited to Versteeg.
The Hawks struck again on the second half of the power play as well. A Bryan Bickell shot was deflected on the way to the net and the rebound came to Hossa on the doorstep for his third of the year.
Scrivens was pulled after allowing five goals on 13 shots, with backup Viktor Fasth coming in to replace him.
The move didn’t do much to staunch the bleeding as the Blackhawks scored on their second shot on Fasth as well, with Keith moving in from the point and unleashing a bullet for the goal. The three goals to start the second period came in a span of 2:31, giving the Blackhawks six goals at a time the Oilers had just five shots.
Edmonton finally broke Crawford’s shutout bid with 12 minutes left in the second period as Perron tipped a Schultz shot into the net for his second of the season.
Chicago restored it’s six-goal advantage three minutes later as Kane converted a two-on-one opportunity for his eighth of the year.