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Newcomer Vermette scores in shootout to give Blackhawks 2-1 win over Oilers

03/06/2015 11:38 EST | Updated 05/06/2015 05:59 EDT
CHICAGO - It didn't take long for the acquistion of Antoine Vermette to pay off for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Vermette, playing in his second game with Chicago, scored the lone goal of the shootout in the third round, giving the Blackhawks a 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night.

Vermette, who came in a trade last Saturday from the sagging Arizona Coyotes, missed on several chances in regulation, but finally beat Ben Scrivens on a backhander in the tiebreaker.

"I haven't been here for a long time, but I know what this team is capable of," Vermette said. "It's nice we stuck with it and came away with two points."

The Blackhawks picked up the 32-year-old Vermette in a move to bolster their offence after leading scorer Patrick Kane underwent surgery last week for a broken collarbone. Vermette has scored on nine of his last 18 shootout attempts over the last two seasons. Six of those have decided games.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was well aware of that stat when he made his picks for the shootout. Vermette followed Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp, who were stopped in the tiebreaker.

"We were visiting where he's at, where he's used, his effectiveness," Quenneville said. "That was very timely. I think that will be good for him as well. He can get excited going forward."

Chicago's Corey Crawford made 46 saves through overtime, then stopped all three Oilers in the shootout. The Blackhawks improved to 3-1 without Kane.

Chicago's Brent Seabrook scored on a screened drive from the blue line — and on the Blackhawks' 33rd shot — to tie the game with 7:02 left in the third period, spoiling Scrivens' shutout bid and setting up overtime.

"We stuck with our game," Crawford said. "We didn't get frustrated.

"Their goalie made some big saves and their guys were getting in front and making blocks. We kept playing, kept getting chances, and it was nice to get that one."

Edmonton's Derek Roy scored in the first period on a nifty move following a broken play and Scrivens finished with 38 saves through overtime.

Scrivens was sharp in blocking several prime Chicago chances through overtime. The Blackhawks struggled to maintain consistent pace and pressure against scrappy Edmonton, in last place in the Western Conference.

The injury-depleted Oilers, owners of the second-worst record in the NHL, opened a five-game road trip with seven regulars out. They've lost three straight and five of six.

"All 20 guys played hard, starting with Benny," Oilers coach Todd Nelson said. "He had an outstanding game.

"But I thought our whole team played well. I thought it was a game where we had opportunities that we could maybe score some goals. Crawford played outstanding."

Chicago had several early chances, including a point-blank attempt by Vermette, but was burned by sloppy play in a freely skated first.

Edmonton came on late, outshot Chicago 18-12 for the period and took a 1-0 lead on Roy's goal after Chicago's Duncan Keith lost the puck along the back boards. Chicago had players in position to recover, but Edmonton's Nail Yakupov slipped the puck into the slot, where Roy was wide open. He fired into an empty net after Crawford overreacted to Roy's fake and slid too far to his left.

"Missing some guys out of the lineup and the young guys came and played really well for us, Roy said. "We did a good job generating offence on a good hockey team."

The Blackhawks generated pressure and scoring opportunities in the second period, but Scrivens preserved the one-goal lead.

He stopped slumping Patrick Sharp on a breakaway. Sharp, who led Chicago last season with 34 goals and 78 points, has gone 17 games without a goal and has just two assists in his last 16.

Scrivens reacted quickly to deny Marian Hossa from the slot, then Jonathan Toews on a rebound from the edge of the crease.

Scrivens kicked out his left leg to make a close-in pad save on Kris Versteeg in the third. And Crawford made a point-blank stop on Justin Schultz with 40 seconds left in regulation.

In overtime, Scrivens stopped David Rundblad in close and a tip-in attempt by Seabrook.

NOTES: The Blackhawks improved to 9-3 in shootout. Edmonton dropped to 5-5. . F Andrew Desjardins, acquired from San Jose hours before Monday's trade deadline, made his Blackhawks debut. Top prospect F Teuvo Teravainen and F Daniel Carcillo were Chicago's healthy scratches. ... Blackhawks D Johnny Oduya (upper-body injury), missed his fifth game, but has resumed skating and hopes to return next week. ... Edmonton's injury list includes F Taylor Hall (leg), F Tyler Pitlick (lacerated spleen), D Nikita Nikitin (shoulder), G Viktor Fasth (knee), C Anton Lander (shoulder) and F Iiro Pakarinen (knee).

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