Wild 6-2 victory over Oilers gets Blackhawks within 3 points of playoff spot

SHARE Wild 6-2 victory over Oilers gets Blackhawks within 3 points of playoff spot

Drake Caggiula had a pleasant return to Edmonton. | Jason Franson/The Canadian Press

EDMONTON, Alberta — The Blackhawks wrestled long enough to give themselves a chance, then blitzed the Oilers early in the third period.

The Hawks scored four times in less than three minutes as they ran away 6-2 for their season-best fifth victory in a row. Stunningly, they’re only three points behind the Canucks for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

‘‘It’s nice for our team to win games in different ways,’’ captain Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘I think it just keeps adding to our confidence. We’re just climbing. I think the work ethic is there much more consistently. . . . We’re feeling pretty good about our game.’’

The locker room was noisy afterward, with music blaring and players breaking into applause.

‘‘There’s nothing better than winning,’’ coach Jeremy Colliton said of the ruckus.

The Oilers led 2-1 after two scrappy periods before the Hawks unloaded.

A rare goal by John Hayden started the barrage about four minutes into the third. That was followed by quick strikes from Dylan Strome, Patrick Kane and Drake Caggiula to make it 5-2 with 13:22 left.

Cam Ward stopped 25 of 27 shots and weathered Oilers power plays early. The Hawks committed four penalties in the first period, and Leon Draisaitl cashed in two of them.


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‘‘[Ward] made some big saves at some key times, and that allowed us to have the opportunity to come back,’’ Colliton said.

Ward has a .934 save percentage in his last three starts.

The Hawks began their turnaround in mid-December and have gone 12-6-4 since, but this is the closest they’ve crept to the playoff field.

Caggiula’s revenge

There was no bad blood between Caggiula and the Oilers when they dealt him to the Hawks in December, but he got serious satisfaction scoring a goal in his return to Rogers Place.

‘‘When a team trades you away, you want to make sure that when you come back, you make a statement,’’ he said. ‘‘Make them miss you a little bit.’’

His playing time had shriveled toward the end of his three seasons with the Oilers before he got a much-needed fresh start with the Hawks, and he has flourished since getting on a line with Toews and Kane.

In his first five games on the ‘‘nuclear line,’’ Caggiula has two goals and two assists and is a plus-5.

Power play thriving

The Hawks have had the best power play in the NHL by far in the last month — an astounding 43.2 percent success rate — and kept it going with a goal in the first period.

They went on the power play less than two minutes into the game and needed only four seconds for defenseman Erik Gustafsson to blast one into the net from long range.

The Hawks also got a late power-play goal from Dominik Kahun, making them 2-for-4 on the night.

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