Kotalik is shootout king

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:07 AM ET

CHICAGO -- Considering their time of arrival and the recent history against them, the Edmonton Oilers did well to earn a point against the Chicago Blackhawks last night.

Getting two points was exceptional.

The Oilers defeated the Blackhawks 5-4 in a shootout as Patrick O'Sullivan and Ales Kotalik scored in the showdown, while goaltender Dwayne Roloson turned away Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

NEW RECORD

Kotalik's goal was his 11th in the shootout, establishing a new NHL record for the tiebreaker.

"It was a battle," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"Give our defence a lot of credit for the way that they battled. They spent a lot of time in their own end, especially in the second period and they battled hard. Those were tough minutes."

Roloson earned the start in goal for the Oilers and finished with 43 saves on the night -- not including the two in the shootout.

It was believed the veteran might get a rest after starting the 26 previous games, including the one the night before in Colorado.

But despite the fact the team arrived in Chicago at 3 a.m., MacTavish elected to go back to the 39-year-old.

"He just asked me if I was OK, and I said yes," Roloson said. "There wasn't much more to it then that."

The Blackhawks had won the three previous encounters between the teams, out-scoring the Oilers 15-3 in the process -- including a 9-2 drubbing in Edmonton.

Last night, however, it was the Oilers who found the net first as Dustin Penner converted a feed from Denis Grebeshkov at the side of the net and tipped it past Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin.

The lead was one of four the Oilers would take on the night, only to be pulled back by the Blackhawks each time.

Regardless, the Oilers were able to withstand Chicago's late pressure and get the game into the extra sessions.

"Coming into Chicago, I don't think they've lost too many games here and they needed the win, so we got their best," said Oilers captain Ethan Moreau.

"We played really well, especially in a back-to-back situation.

"Our defence played really well and Roli battled really hard. It was a pretty good template of what we have to do for the rest of the year. Our commitment level is the best it's been all year."

COGLIANO SCORES

David Bolland tied the game for the Blackhawks later in the first period, only to have Andrew Cogliano restore the Oilers lead.

Adam Burish tied the game before the end of the frame bringing a close to an entertaining first 20 minutes.

In the second, the Blackhawks had the majority of the territorial advantage, but the Oilers skated to the intermission with the lead as goals by Moreau and Sam Gagner bracketed Cam Barker's tally.

In the third, Kyle Brodziak had a chance to extend the Oilers lead, but his blast from the top of the face-off circle rung off the crossbar.

The Blackhawks took advantage of the fortunate bounce and tied the game later in the period as the puck bounced to Havlat in front, who fired it past Roloson.

With just over seven minutes left in the period, Toews had a chance to win it as was awarded a penalty shot after taking a weak slash from Sheldon Souray on a breakaway.

Toews tried to beat Roloson down low, but was stopped by the Oilers goaltender.

"You have to have great goaltending in this league," Moreau said.

"That's one thing you can't do without. We're getting it, and we've seen in the past what you can do with great goaltending, which he's providing."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos