Taylor Hall recorded his second career hat trick as the Edmonton Oilers used a five-goal first period to trounce the visiting Chicago Blackhawks 9-2 Saturday night, halting a four-game losing skid.
Edmonton's huge opening 20 minutes provided more offense than the Oilers had mustered in any one game this season. The nine-goal performance was the club's highest-scoring game since a 10-1 win over Calgary on Nov. 26, 1996.
Ales Hemsky and Patrick Sharp traded goals in the opening three minutes, and it didn't take long for the Oilers to reclaim the lead for good. Ryan Jones fired a backhand toward the goal that caromed off Blackhawks netminder Ray Emery and trickled between his pads at 5:47.
The Oilers added to the advantage less than two minutes later, as Ryan Smyth converted a Jordan Eberle backhand sweep pass for his 11th of the season. That goal spelled the end of Emery's night, as he was replaced by Corey Crawford.
Edmonton continued pouring it on, with goals by Hall and Eberle in the latter half of the period to turn the game into a rout.
Emery was back in goal to start the second period, but he didn't get much help as Chicago handed the Oilers a two-man advantage early in the frame. Rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle passed the puck back and forth three times before Eberle fed Tom Gilbert, who slapped a shot past Emery on the glove side.
Hall and David Bolland traded power-play goals in the second half of the period, and Shawn Horcoff added a fourth man-advantage goal inside two minutes to send the Oilers into the intermission up 8-2.
Hall completed the hat trick midway through the third period, wiring a wrist shot between Steve Montador's legs and past Emery's glove hand.
Nugent-Hopkins finished with five assists while Eberle added a goal and three helpers.