Add Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger to the growing list of those impressed with the Blackhawks.
Krueger’s Oilers were the latest team to try to snap the Hawks’ incredible streak of starting the season with at least 1 point in every game, and they actually had the lead going to the third period Monday night at the United Center.
But Viktor Stalberg tied if early in the third, then Marian Hossa won it with a goal at 1:44 of overtime for a 3-2 victory that stretched the Hawks’ historic streak to 19 games without as regulation loss to start the season.
“In the big picture it’s an excellent point against the strongest team in the National Hockey League right now,” Krueger said. “They are an amazingly powerful team. They’re very, very strong on the puck and never, never let up at all.
“We had that long stretch in the third period without any whistles, and that was the most pressure we’ve felt from anybody this year.”
Hossa slid a Patrick Sharp rebound around Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin after Sharp wove his way to the net and around defenseman Jeff Petry.
“The first time he made an unbelievable save with the pad (on Sharp). The second time I just extended my stick and tried to go around the pad and somehow it went in,” Hossa said. “Sharpie did all the work, hanging on to the puck and drawing two guys with him. They left me there a little alone.”
Sharp said he was making a point to hold on to the puck a little longer with the teams playing four aside.
“I’ve been throwing the puck around a little too early in the offensive zone,” Sharp said. “When you’re out there 4-on-4 you sometimes have a little more time than you’re used to. I just wanted to make an effort of hanging on to the puck, made a couple twists and turns and the next thing I knew I was in on Nik.
“He (Hossa) can give me the credit, but he made a great play by sticking with the rebound and putting it in.”
The Hawks fell behind on Petry’s short-handed goal early in the first period, but Patrick Kane quickly answered at 5:30 with his 10th goal of the season on a power play.
Kane sliced to the slot from the right corner and put a backhander past Khabibulin.
“They’ve had our number for the last couple years, it seems like, so for us to respond like that and let them know it’s going to be a game was big,” Kane said. “Then to come in here and regroup after the second period and get a goal so quickly in the third was huge.
“This team just keeps finding ways to win, and it’s fun to be a part of.”
The Oilers went ahead 2-1 at 14:17 of the second period on Nail Yakupov’s power-play goal. It was only the third time all season the Hawks trailed after two periods.
The Hawks didn’t waste any time tying the game in the third period as Stalberg made it 2-2 at 2:24 on a goal that was upheld by a video review in Toronto.
“We wanted to get off to a good start, but we didn’t anticipate (this),” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “When you looked at our schedule and you saw 10 out of 12 on the road, we were thinking hopefully we could put ourselves in a position where we could come home we’d be in a decent spot.
“But we didn’t see this happening for sure.”
The Hawks closed their seven-game homestand 6-0-1.
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