EDMONTON â€” The Chicago Blackhawks can say they earned their week off.
Richard Panik scored twice and set up one more as the Blackhawks stretched their winning streak to five games with a 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists and Trevor van Riemsdyk and Artem Anisimov also scored for the Blackhawks (35-17-5), who are now off until next Saturday, taking their mandated five-day break.
“It’s tough to win five games in a row on the road,” said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. “Our guys played a lot of hockey and our guys that went to the All-Star game, they didn’t get much of a break as well. Hopefully everybody gets away and comes back refreshed and tries to recapture this feeling we have right now.”
“It seemed like we got better and better over the last five games and it’s more of the team game that we’re going to need going forward,” added assistant captain Duncan Keith. “I think we’re starting to show some of our potential.”
Patrick Maroon replied for the Oilers (29-18-8), who have lost four of their last five games.
“It was just mistakes that shouldn’t happen anymore at this point of the year,” said Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl. “It was a frustrating loss for us.
“We haven’t been playing the way that we can or putting the wins together that we need to in order to make the playoffs. We’re going to have to turn it around pretty quickly here.”
The Oilers were coming off of their own five-day break, but head coach Todd McLellan didn’t see that as an excuse for their play.
“We didn’t have a lot of emotion,” he said. “There wasn’t a single Blackhawk who was mad at an Oiler all night until the last two minutes. I was disappointed in the loss, the power play, the penalty kill, but mostly in the emotional level of our team.”
Edmonton started the scoring four minutes into the opening period as Connor McDavid deftly stole a puck from Chicago defender Niklas Hjalmarsson and sent a backhand pass in front to Maroon, who beat goalie Scott Darling for his 19th goal of the season.
The Blackhawks replied less than two minutes later when Panik walked in from the point to receive a pass and blasted a shot past Oilers starter Cam Talbot.
Chicago surged ahead midway through the first with a power-play goal as Kane was able to bank a shot off of Talbot’s skate from behind the net during a scramble in front for his 19th of the year.
The Hawks made it 3-1 before the nine-minute mark of the second period as Oiler Oscar Klefbom had a chance to clear, but instead put it right on the stick of van Riemsdyk, who beat Talbot high to the glove side.
Chicago scored another power-play goal late in the second period, as Panik swatted in a rebound during another scramble, recording his 14th of the season.
Edmonton back-up goalie Laurent Brossoit came in to replace Talbot for the third.
Anisimov battled hard in front of the net to add another goal, his 20th, with four minutes left in the third.
The Oilers return to action on Tuesday night at home against the Arizona Coyotes, while the Blackhawks are off until Feb. 18, when they play a rematch against Edmonton in Chicago.
Notes: It was the second of three meetings between the two teams this season. The Oilers won the previous game 5-0 at home on Nov. 21.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press