The Blackhawks' special teams are beginning to look, well, pretty special.
A power-play goal and a short-handed score in the first period helped propel the Hawks to a 3-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.
Patrick Sharp scored with the man advantage 2 minutes 36 seconds into the game and Brent Seabrook's short-handed goal with 1:25 left in the first period got the Hawks headed in the right direction. Nikolai Khabibulin made the most of the lead with 23 saves in his first shutout of the season.
The Hawks improved to 3-2-2 before a crowd of 21,168 at the United Center. The victory extended the Hawks' points streak to five games, during which they have accumulated eight of a possible 10 points.
"Our power play has been pretty good the last couple of games," Sharp said. "It was great to score the three goals and, of course, Nik was standing on his head all night long."
The Hawks, who won their second straight, are now 2-0-1 under head coach Joel Quenneville.
"In all areas we were strong," Quenneville said. "Our special teams were really good. Our puck possession, our speed, our pressure, our sticks [and] making plays. Every part of our game we're happy with."
The Hawks scored a power-play goal for the third straight game when Sharp opened the scoring, firing a one-timer from between the circles past Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson off a pass from Jonathan Toews.
Not only was the penalty-killing unit strong, stopping Edmonton in all five of its chances, Seabrook scored while teammate Ben Eager was in the box for high-sticking. With the Hawks on a rush toward the Edmonton goal, Dave Bolland found a streaking Seabrook and fed him for a one-timer from between the circles. The defenseman blasted it past Roloson for a 2-0 lead.
"We had a lot of momentum from our penalty killing," Quenneville said. "Whenever you score a short-handed goal, it's a huge lift and a killer for the other team. The way the guys killed [Wednesday night] … not only did we not give up many chances, we generated a lot short-handed, which is big."
The Hawks didn't allow a power-play goal for the third straight game and are 28 of 30 in stopping them this season.
Aaron Johnson made it 3-0 with an even-strength goal midway through the second period. The defenseman scored his first goal of the season after taking a pass from Martin Havlat and sending a slap shot past Roloson.
The Hawks improved to 3-0-1 at the United Center, their best start at home since the 2001-02 season. Edmonton lost for the first time this season after starting 4-0.
"Chicago played really well," Edmonton's Ethan Moreau said. "They capitalized every chance they had. You can certainly see the improvement in Chicago's skill level. We never really got started."
Blackhawks 3, Oilers 0