Crawford Leads Blackhawks to 1st Win, 3-1 over Oilers

CHICAGO — Patrick Kane and Alexander Nylander scored, Corey Crawford stopped 27 shots, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 Monday night for their first win of the season.

Brandon Saad added an empty-netter with 32.7 seconds left to seal the win for Chicago, which went 0-2-1 in its first three games.

Crawford lost a bid for his 26th career shutout when James Neal scored his NHL-leading eighth goal on a power-play with 2:11 remaining.

Corey Crawford Blackhawks
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Mike Smith finished with 32 saves for Edmonton, which had opened the season with five wins.

Crawford came through with big saves, thwarted Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl — who entered as the NHL’s top two scorers — on several prime chances. McDavid, who has 12 points, was kept off the scoresheet for the first time this season. Draisaitl earned an assist on Neal’s goal.

The Blackhawks got a badly needed win in the third game of an early seven-game homestand as they skated before an announced crowd of 21,260 that was their 500th straight sellout at the United Center.

Each team had several prime chances in a freely skated, but scoreless first period.

Draisaitl and Oscar Klefbom both burst in all alone, but were stopped by Crawford. Smith made close-in saves on Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat.

Edmonton managed only one shot on two late power plays in the first, although Ryan Nugent-Hopkins clanked a shot of the right post with 4:30 left in the period.

Chicago outshot Edmonton 17-6 in the second, and Kane opened the scoring 4:11 into the period from a faceoff in the Edmonton zone.

Set up after Dylan Strome won a draw in the left circle, Kane fired in a quick high shot from the hashmarks with Andrew Shaw heading to the net to screen.

Patrick Kane (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Capping a burst down the right side, McDavid jammed the puck past Crawford and over the goal line with 2:46 left in the second, but the goal was disallowed because the net was dislodged on the play.

McDavid accelerated around Chicago defenceman Olli Maatta and cut in on Crawford, but the veteran goalie blocked McDavid’s stuff-in attempt with his right pad. McDavid plowed into Crawford and kept jamming at the puck, forcing the net off its moorings.

Nylander made it 2-0 at 6:20 of the third, beating Smith between the pads with a low shot from a sharp angle from the right side. Following a scramble at the Edmonton blue line, Nylander corralled the puck, slipped past defenceman Joel Persson as fired it in.

Neal knocked in his power-play goal from the left side of the net to cut it to 2-1 after taking Nugent-Hopkins’ feed from across the crease.

NOTES: The Blackhawks sellout run includes regular-season and playoff games. … Edmonton D Adam Larsson (fractured right fibula) missed his fifth game. … LW Nylander was back in the lineup as Brendan Perlini sat out. … The teams meet again twice this season, on Feb. 11 in Edmonton and March 5 in Chicago.


Oilers: Host Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

Blackhawks: Host Columbus on Friday night.


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Matt Carlson, The Associated Press