Illegal hit by Daniel Carcillo proves costly to Blackhawks
By Adam L. Jahns firstname.lastname@example.org January 2, 2012 10:30PM
Daniel Carcillo sends Tom Gilbert into the boards. Carcillo received a major penalty and was ejected. | Charles Rex Arbogast~AP
Updated: February 4, 2012 11:42AM
It wasn’t exactly a nine-goal drubbing. But just as on that horrendous November night in Edmonton during the circus trip, the Blackhawks didn’t do the things needed to defeat the Oilers. For some reason, the Oilers seem to bring out the worst in the Hawks.
They got off to a slow start, their power play failed to produce — especially at key moments — and the Oilers’ forecheck gave them problems. But Hawks winger Daniel Carcillo’s ugly, suspension-worthy hit on defenseman Tom Gilbert was what propelled the Oilers to their 4-3 victory Monday at the United Center.
It was the proverbial turning point.
Carcillo sent Gilbert, who didn’t have the puck, hard into the end boards at 7:23 in the second period. Carcillo, who suffered an injured left leg on the play, was ejected and received a five-minute boarding penalty. Ryan Smyth and Taylor Hall scored on the ensuing power play for the Oilers.
“I didn’t really even see the hit, so I’m not sure. I just know he got five minutes,” forward Patrick Kane said. “Maybe something like that can fire a team up, but five minutes, especially with the talent they have, they’re going to be able to make some plays, and they got two goals off it and changed the momentum.”
“We have to do a better job of penalty-killing,” defenseman Duncan Keith said.
Still, the Hawks had a chance. Andrew Brunette tipped in a shot to tie it at 2 at 12:39 in the second period to give the Hawks some life again. But it didn’t last.
Defenseman Andy Sutton gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead minutes later when he was left unchecked in front of goalie Corey Crawford (26 saves) and received a nice pass from Jordan Eberle. Ex-Hawk Ben Eager scored the needed insurance goal in the third.
Jonathan Toews scored his 22nd of the season, and Jimmy Hayes tallied his first NHL goal for the Hawks, who went 0-for-5 on the power play. Oilers backup goalie Devan Dubnyk made 39 saves and seemed to play better as the game went on.
The bad far outweighed the good for the second consecutive game against the Oilers, who ended their three-game losing streak with their second victory in the last nine games. Despite the buildup, the Hawks failed to avenge their 9-2 loss to the Oilers on Nov. 19.
“Certainly winning the game was a priority,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “That was what it was all about. That’s how you get revenge.”
Instead, the Oilers exacted revenge for Carcillo’s hit. Gilbert left the game with an injured right knee. Carcillo, who was suspended two games earlier in the season for a hit from behind on Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen, is expected to have a disciplinary hearing with the NHL. Carcillo’s leg injury will be reevaluated Tuesday.
“I’m not going to argue the call [on Carcillo],” Quenneville said. “He beat him to the counter-hit. It wasn’t intent. Both guys went for the same type of a play, and he beat him [and] had better position on the guy.
“It wasn’t a head shot. You can look at it a number of ways. I’m sure [the league will review it]. That’s their responsibility.”