Forsberg Makes 32 Saves as Blackhawks Beat Oilers


Published on January 8 2018 6:18 am
Last Updated on January 8 2018 6:18 am


The first regulation win of Anton Forsberg's career was a big one for the goaltender and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Forsberg made 32 saves, Nick Schmaltz and Alex DeBrincat scored in the first period, and the Blackhawks beat the slumping Edmonton Oilers 4-1 on Sunday.

Brandon Saad and Jordan Oesterle also scored for Chicago (20-15-6), which got its first home win since a 4-1 victory against Minnesota on Dec. 17. Jonathan Toews extended his point streak to four games.

Forsberg got his second win in just his 10th start of his first season in Chicago. Forsberg had been the backup all year, but his role had come into question after Jeff Glass came up from the minors and played well with starter Corey Crawford sidelined by an upper-body injury.

"Obviously every goalie wants to play as much as possible, and I'm not any different there," Forsberg said. "I don't think it's any different now. I still want to play good, if (Crawford) is here or not. I'm trying to do my job as good as possible, same as before."

Edmonton (18-22-3) has dropped six of seven, including a 5-1 loss at Dallas on Saturday. The Oilers have been outscored 20-3 in their last five games.

"It's a humbling game," forward Milan Lucic said. "There are times we're on Cloud 9 and times where we're at the bottom of the barrel. I don't think the last two games, probably more so yesterday than today, was a lack of effort. It's just some minor mistakes that lead to big goals against."

Darnell Nurse's sharp-angled backhander trimmed Chicago's lead to 2-1 at 4:12 of the second. Jujhar Khaira got a look at the tying goal after Brent Seabrook's turnover with about six minutes left in the period, but Forsberg smothered his shot.

Chicago's top line of Vinnie Hinostroza, Toews and Saad then combined for a big play in the final seconds of the second. Hinostroza got the puck up to Toews, who muscled his way toward the net before shaking free for a shot that Saad deflected past Talbot at 19:50.

Oesterle added his third of the season midway through the third. Talbot finished with 25 saves.

"We got beat in a number of areas, so that combined with the confidence level we have right now is very poor timing," Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said. "That didn't set us up for a lot of success in the third."

Chicago was coming off a disappointing 5-4 loss to expansion Vegas on Friday night, prompting coach Joel Quenneville to shuffle his lineup for the final game of the first half of the season. Defensemen Connor Murphy and Cody Franson were benched in favor of Michal Kempny and Jan Rutta, and John Hayden was a healthy scratch with Ryan Hartman returning from an upper-body injury.

The Blackhawks got off to a slow start against the Golden Knights and then blew a 4-3 lead in the third period. They were much better in the first against the Oilers.

Schmaltz jumped on a loose puck and slipped a backhand through Talbot's legs for a 1-0 lead at 8:03, extending his goal streak to three straight games with his 10th of the season. Chicago then caught a break when DeBrincat's centering pass went off the right skate of Edmonton forward Mark Letestu and past Talbot for the rookie's 14th goal at 9:29.

"It's huge, especially after last game," Saad said. "We weren't happy with the way we played. Moving on here today, we knew this was a big game against a good team. I think we played a pretty good 60 minutes."

Capitals 4, Blues 3

Washington coach Barry Trotz wasn't surprised his squad started the season slow. Pain from another playoff flameout lingered. Trotz and the coaching staff gave the players space to emotionally mend on their own, anticipating the team's culture would eventually help find a winning path. That approach proved wise.

Nicklas Backstrom scored at 4:17 of overtime and Alex Ovechkin had a power-play goal and an assist to help the Capitals beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on Sunday.

The Capitals have won four in a row overall and nine consecutive home games, the longest active streak in the NHL. Since Nov. 22, the Metropolitan Division leaders are 15-3-2.

"We had to get through the misery of how we finished last year," Trotz said in reference to the Game 7 loss at home to Pittsburgh in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Washington hasn't advanced beyond the second round of the postseason since reaching the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals despite several impressive teams. The Capitals won 55 and 56 games the previous two seasons.

"We had high expectations. We have expectations to do well every year, especially the last couple of years," Trotz said. "There's a lot of hurt. Our expectations are higher than some other teams because we feel like we can get there. We let the players sort of heal on their own."

Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist for the Blues. They have lost two in a row and six of their last seven road games.

Recognizing a change of possession in Washington's end late in overtime, Backstrom headed down ice, received a long pass from T.J. Oshie and beat goalie Carter Hutton for his ninth goal of the season.

"Tied up there on the boards, I was just going. I knew the pass was coming," Backstrom said. "Nice to get a breakaway for once. Nice to score too."

Backstrom scored his 197th goal to tie Alexander Semin for fifth on the Capitals' goals list. Backstrom also assisted on Ovechkin's goal.

Ovechkin tied it at 2 on the power play 8 eight minutes into the third with his league-leading 27th goal, and Lars Eller gave the Capitals the lead with 9:11 left. The lead did not last long, with Carl Gunnarsson credited with a goal after his shot into pack of players evaded goaltender Braden Holtby with 4:09 remaining.

"Kind of a weird game, back and forth," Gunnarsson said. "We had it, then they bounced back then we bounced back. It could have been in anyone's hands."

Holtby made 30 saves for the Capitals including several key stops late in regulation and overtime.

Alexander Steen snapped a lengthy power-play drought and put St. Louis up 2-1 5:02 into the second period. St. Louis had failed to score on 21 consecutive power plays dating to its Dec. 20 loss at Calgary.

St. Louis dominated the second with had two goals on 12 shots before Washington recorded its first shot on goal in the period.

The Blues tied it at 1 1:18 into the second period on Tarasenko's 18th goal.

"This is a big point today," St. Louis coach Mike Yeo said of his team's bounce back performance. "Obviously disappointed we didn't get the second, but I thought our guys played a really strong game."

Brett Connolly also scored a power-play goal for Washington.

"It's working," Ovechkin said of the power play. "I think we have to continue playing like that and it's going to give us a (good) result."

Sunday, January 7 Scoreboard

New York Islanders 5, New Jersey 4 (SO)S

Philadelphia 4, Buffalo 1

Washington 4, St. Louis 3 (OT)

Chicago 4, Edmonton 1

Winnipeg 4, San Jose 1

Columbus 3, Florida 2 (SO)

Montreal 5, Vancouver 2

Tampa Bay 5, Detroit 2

Pittsburgh 6, Boston 5 (OT)

Vegas 2, New York Rangers 1

Monday, January 8 Schedule (Time Central)

Columbus at Toronto, 6 p.m.