The Chicago Black Hawks shut out Wayne Gretzky for the first time in 37 games and defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 5-2, tonight at Chicago Stadium before 17,794 fans. They also stopped the Oilers' postseason winning streak at 12 games, dating back to last year's Stanley Cup championship series.
"The fans have carried us through the year and tonight they were right behind us," said Chicago center Denis Savard, who got his first points of the series with a goal and an assist. "We have a lot of pride on this team and we wanted to prove that we were not really as bad as it looked when we lost, 11-2 (in the series' first game)."
Edmonton leads the Campbell Conference final series, 2-1, with Game 4 set for Sunday here.
Oilers Coach Glen Sather wasn't terribly pleased with the way his team played, but he wasn't grief stricken, either. "I think we did two things wrong that we normally don't do. We threw the puck away and we were letting guys go," Sather said. But when he was asked what the key part of the game was, he said, "The key is the team that wins the fourth game."
The key for the Hawks was their checking all over the ice. "The way we checked them tonight, I don't think they could have beaten us if we played another whole period," Savard said.
Edmonton goalie Grant Fuhr, who played another strong game, said the difference in this game was Chicago's intensity. "They just gave it a full, solid 60 minutes," he said.
The Hawks, who played without all-star defenseman Doug Wilson, sidelined with a pulled groin muscle, and who lost center Bill Gardner in the first period with an injury to his left knee, led from the start. Rick Paterson hit Jack O'Callahan with a cross-ice pass, and Paterson beat the sliding Fuhr for a 1-0 lead at 5:01 of the first period. The Hawks made it 2-0 just 61 seconds later when Steve Larmer scored from in front with assists going to Darryl Sutter and Savard.
The second period started furiously and when the Hawks slowed a little, Edmonton struck. Jaroslav Pouzar scored at 11:14 with assists from Mike Krushelnyski and Larry Melnyk. Then Sutter, the Blacks Hawks captain, dug the puck out of the corner, came from behind the net and shoved it past the skate of Fuhr for a 3-1 lead at 14:20.
In the third, defenseman Jerome Dupont's mistake resulted in an Edmonton goal. When Dupont failed to clear the puck from his zone, Glenn Anderson took it and found teammate Mark Messier alone in the slot. Messier's goal cut the margin to 3-2 with just under 17 minutes left in the game.
But the Hawks didn't wilt as they had in the first two games. Murray Bannerman, who recorded his first career victory against the Oilers, came far out of the goal to sweep the puck away from a charging Anderson. Then at 7:07, the Hawks scored again. O'Callahan fed Savard at center ice and he broke in on Fuhr, faked the goalie and beat him to the right.
An insurance goal came at the 18:44 mark. Bannerman shoveled a pass up along the boards to Troy Murray, who scored into the empty net.
In the first period, there was a 14-minute delay while workmen repaired two sections of plexiglass that were knocked out when Dupont checked Messier into the boards. At the time it looked like a bad thing for the Hawks because they had momentum, but Troy Murray said it may actually have helped. "We had the momentum, but it may have been good for us," he said. "Maybe we needed that to remind us that we didn't need to be in a run-and-gun game with them."