(MCT) — CHICAGO — Nikolai Khabibulin stumbled coming out of the tunnel from the Oilers’ dressing room to start the second period before steadying himself on the bench and taking the ice.
Then the Oilers goaltender was tripped up by the hottest team in hockey as the Blackhawks made sure the longest streak in NHL history to start a season without a regulation loss lives on at 19.
Marian Hossa scored the winner in overtime to lift the Hawks to a 3-2 victory over the Oilers on Monday night at the United Center. Patrick Kane and Viktor Stalberg each had a goal in regulation and Ray Emery earned the win in goal as the Hawks’ improved to 16-0-3. Dating to last season, they have gone 25 consecutive games with at least one point.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Hossa, who sent the crowd of 21,127 home happy when he batted in a rebound of a Patrick Sharp attempt from in front 1 minute, 44 seconds into overtime. “We try to enjoy the streak, keep playing a simple game and try to have fun. We know we’ll find a way to win the hockey games.”
For just the third time this season, the Hawks found themselves trailing entering the third period after Jeff Petry and Nail Yakupov had scored for the Oilers.
“After the second period, guys weren’t very happy we were down a goal and we knew we wanted to come back and change that right away,” Kane said.
Stalberg did just that when he stuffed a shot under Khabibulin’s pad after taking a pass from Michal Rozsival. Regulation ended that way and the Hawks had extended their streak but still had work to do. Sharp did the bulk of it, taking the puck hard to the net and creating the opportunity for Hossa.
“That was great work by Patrick Sharp,” Hossa said. “He was hanging on to the puck, I tried to get open in the slot and he cut right in through the defense and tried to shoot. I saw the rebound and (Khabibulin) made a great save and I just kept battling and tried to put it in and it worked out.”
Emery improved to 8-0-0 and helped lead the Hawks to their sixth consecutive victory. They finished their season-long seven-game homestand 6-0-1.
“Without sounding arrogant, it’s kind of just business as usual,” Sharp said. “We have an attitude in here that we can win every night. We’re healthy right now, we’re a confident group and we want to keep getting better.”
The Oilers kicked off a 17-day, nine-game trip by gaining a point and a lot of respect for the Hawks.
“Big picture, it’s an excellent point against the strongest team in the National Hockey League right now,” Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said. “Of course you feel pain, having the lead going into the third period. It’s definitely something you dream and believe you can close it, but they really are an amazingly powerful team.”