Sports

Blackhawks Back on Track, Beat Oilers 5-3

By Chris Kuc, Chicago Tribune reporter10:14 p.m. CST, January 12, 2014

Slowly, ever so slowly, the puck slid the length of the ice toward the vacant Blackhawks net.

Realizing what was happening, defenseman Nick Leddy put on the afterburners in pursuit but failed to reach it before it crossed the goal line.

Of all the times Patrick Kane has put a puck into a net at the United Center during his NHL seven seasons, this was certainly in the strangest fashion. With goaltender Antti Raanta on the bench during a delayed penalty, Kane was deep in the offensive zone and flipped the puck to the point — where no teammate resided. Nearly 200 feet later it settled into his own goal and the Oilers had pulled into a tie with the Hawks during the second period of Sunday night’s game at the United Center.

Fortunately for the Hawks — and Kane — they spent the rest of the game putting pucks in the Oilers’ goal and skated to a 5-3 victory to snap a three-game losing streak before a crowd of 21,242.

“When I shot it back it seemed like it just took forever to keep going,” Kane said while shaking his head afterward. “At one point I thought it was stopping … (but) it picked up speed and just kept going. It’s one of those things that happens and (when) you score right after, it kind of takes it off your mind.”

The Hawks did answer right back and took the lead when Marian Hossa scored 29 seconds later on the five-on-three power play to make Kane’s own goal the subject of jokes afterward.

“That type of thing is really rare to see,” said Hossa, who celebrated his 35th birthday with the goal and an assist. “I’ve been in the league for a long time and I don’t think I was part of it until now. That happens. We got a big one next shift.”

Ben Smith, Andrew Shaw, Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook also scored and Kane chipped in with two assists — those on Hawks goals — to make a winner of Raanta.

The Hawks bombarded Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk with 41 shots and finally saw their offense ignite, scoring more than two goals for just the second time in their last seven games.

“I actually had a feeling coming into (Sunday night) that we were going to have a lot of goals,” Shaw said. “The team played amazing. All lines were going. We had chances left, right and center.”

Ales Hemsky had a goal and an assist and Taylor Hall and Boyd Gordon also scored as the Oilers didn’t go away easily but fell to the Hawks for the third time this season — each time allowing five goals.

“Big win,” Kane said. “It’s good to play that way where you outshoot the opponent like that and pretty much dominate the game. At the start of the second period we played really well and started taking over.”

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