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updated: 2/3/2012 12:45 AM

Crawford a total mess as Oilers' Gagner racks up 8 points

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  • Edmonton Oilers' Taylor Hal, right, watches Chicago Blackhawks goalie Cory Crawford make a save during the second period of NHL hockey game action in Edmonton, Alberta, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012.

      Edmonton Oilers' Taylor Hal, right, watches Chicago Blackhawks goalie Cory Crawford make a save during the second period of NHL hockey game action in Edmonton, Alberta, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012.
    Associated Press

  • Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle, top, flies over the Chicago Blackhawks goalie Cory Crawford during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Edmonton, Alberta, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Ulan)

      Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle, top, flies over the Chicago Blackhawks goalie Cory Crawford during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Edmonton, Alberta, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Ulan)

 
 

For the second time in two trips to Edmonton, the Blackhawks embarrassed themselves.

As if losing 9-2 at Rexall Place in November wasn't bad enough, the Hawks were just as awful Thursday night in an 8-4 loss that could have ramifications on the rest of the season, starting in goal.

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Corey Crawford, the Hawks' No. 1 goalie all year, played one of his worst games of the season, blowing a 2-0 second-period lead and getting pulled in the third.

Crawford was swimming in his crease all night and now may take a seat behind Ray Emery, who figures to get a crack from here to win the starting job for the stretch run.

Oilers center Sam Gagner, who has been the subject of trade rumors in Edmonton, had an incredible 8-point night with 4 goals and 4 assists as the Oilers handed the staggering Hawks their fourth straight loss.

Gagner's 8 points tied the Oilers' club record held by Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey and was the first 8-point game in the NHL since Pittsburgh Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux did it in 1988.

"I think this is a joke," said a stunned Gagner.

The Hawks were a mess defensively again, which should force general manager Stan Bowman to step up his efforts to improve his roster -- a task that is possibly looming larger than anyone thought.

Coach Joel Quenneville refrained from lowering the boom on anyone following the pathetic loss.

"We should be disappointed. We should be embarrassed," said Quenneville, who wanted no part of any questions about potential changes being necessary.

"We've got our team here," Quenneville said. "Goaltending wasn't great tonight, but I think we need to be all contributing to be positive to what we have to do to go forward.

"We were were rolling along with the same group here so we've got to find it and get back to it."

The Hawks got off to a much-needed strong start on Jamal Mayers' fifth goal and second in as many games at 6:29 of the first period.

The second period started well with Patrick Sharp making it 2-0 early on a feed from Patrick Kane, but things quickly turned sour and it was 3-3 heading to the third.

Minutes after Sharp scored, Taylor Hall took a long pass and beat Crawford with defenseman Brent Seabrook hanging all over him. It was a soft goal by Crawford and it deflated a Hawks team that had things going its way.

Soon enough it became 2-2 on a goal by Gagner, who found a loose puck in the crease after Crawford couldn't get back in the net because of traffic.

Ryan Whitney's power-play goal after a bad Bryan Bickell boarding penalty put the Oilers ahead, but Sharp got his second goal of the night short-handed at 15:33 to tie it again, banging home a Jonathan Toews rebound.

Crawford was chased early in the third period after goals by Gagner and Jordan Eberle made it 5-3.

Quenneville continued to fuss with his lineup, sitting the unproductive Michael Frolik in favor of the unproductive Bickell and dressing John Scott on defense instead of Sean O'Donnell.

Andrew Brunette left the game after the first period with an upper body injury that Quenneville hinted could be serious.

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