Third loss for Hawks on Canadian swing

The Associated Press

The Oilers got to the Blackhawks early, put things away late and overcame some second-period lethargy that threatened to let Chicago back into the game.

Petr Sykora had a goal and an assist to help Edmonton extend its winning streak to a season-high five games with a 5-1 victory over Chicago on Friday night.

Jarret Stoll, Marty Reasoner, Raffi Torres and Marc-Andre Bergeron also scored for the Oilers. Michael Holmqvist scored for the Blackhawks.

"We kind of let down in the second period and gave them a lot of chances to come back," Sykora said. "They could have easily done that. But in the third we kind of went back to basics and didn't make the same mistakes or turn the puck over."

Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish credited Dwayne Roloson with making the big saves during the second period slowdown to earn his 12th win of the season.

"He didn't have to be spectacular tonight," he said. "He was when he had to be for some short times in the second period after we got a little casual with the puck.

"When we were up 3-0 we were trying to paint a picture every time we touched the puck instead of making it easy on ourselves. Instead we made it a little difficult on (Roloson) when it didn't have to be."

The victory improved Edmonton to 13-8-1 and 10-2 on home ice, and kept the Oilers tied with Minnesota for first place in the Northwest Division. The Blackhawks, who lost all three of their games on a western Canada swing, are 7-12-2.

Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who played the final two periods in place of starter Brian Boucher, said his team had little chance of escaping the early hole.

"It's hard to come back against a team like the Oilers, especially when they are playing at home," he said. "I just came in and tried to do my best to keep us in it and I think we had a chance there in the second period."

It didn't take long for the Oilers to take the lead, scoring on a power play just over two minutes in when Shawn Horcoff fed Stoll in the high slot. Stoll then blasted a one-timer cleanly past Chicago starter Brian Boucher.

The Oilers struck again five minutes later when Reasoner came from behind the goal-line and lifted a backhand into the net. Captain Jason Smith assisted to hit the 150-point plateau in his NHL career.

Edmonton made it 3-0 with three and a half minutes remaining in the first period when Torres deflected in Smith's shot from the point. The Oilers scored on three of seven first-period shots. Nikolai Khabibulin replaced Boucher to start the second.

The move seemed to invigorate the Chicago bench as Blackhawks had a number of excellent scoring opportunities and finally got one past Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson before the midway point of the second. Roloson allowed a big rebound after a toe save on a Duncan Keith shot and Holmqvist was there to put it in. Chicago had 15 shots in the second, but finished the period trailing by two.

Roloson kept the Blackhawks from cutting further into Edmonton's lead, stopping Tony Salmelainen on a breakaway at the start of the third.

Edmonton regained a three-goal advantage just under five minutes into the third when Sykora continued his hot streak with his 12th goal of the season. The offseason free-agent acquisition took a shot while falling down, surprising Khabibulin by sending the puck between his legs.

"I didn't even see where the puck was going," Sykora said. "I was trying to go five-hole and I'm not even sure if it did. I was just trying to hit the net."

Edmonton got to Khabibulin again on a two-man advantage with just over seven minutes left to play as Bergeron blasted a bullet from the point to give Edmonton the 5-1 victory.

The Oilers play the fifth game of a seven-game home stand Tuesday against Anaheim. It will be the first chance Edmonton fans have to express their displeasure with former Oiler Chris Pronger since his offseason trade demand that eventually sent him to the Ducks. The Blackhawks next hit the ice Wednesday when they host Dallas.< Notes: Reasoner left the game late in the second after hitting his head on the glass and didn't return. ... Oilers defenseman Steve Staios, who signed a four-year contract extension Tuesday, missed Friday's game after hurting his left knee in practice Thursday. His absence ended his consecutive games streak at 224. ... Entering the game, the Oilers were tops in the league in penalty killing. Edmonton had only allowed 10 goals in 107 power plays in their first 21 games.

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