Making his first start against his former team since leaving via free agency in July, Khabibulin played well and stopped 34 of 38 shots, but his Edmonton Oilers dropped a 4-3 decision at the
''It was weird to be on the other side. They actually have become a pretty good team,'' said Khabibulin, who played with
"We just started out the way we wanted to start," said Skille, who was
Kris Versteeg increased the Blackhawks' lead with his second goal of the season at 9:12 of the second period. With the teams at even strength, Versteeg took a nice feed from Brian Campbell and ripped it past Khabibulin to make it 3-1.
''We weren't very good,'' said
Dustin Penner got the Oilers back within one when he beat Niemi midway through the third period, but Cam Barker scored on the power play as his blast got past Khabibulin with only 2:42 remaining. With Khabibulin off for an extra attacker, Denis Grebeshkov cut it to 4-3 with a power-play goal of his own at 19:12.
But the Oilers' comeback bid was too late to keep Khabibulin from going home a loser against the team he led to the Western Conference Finals last spring.
"We always had a big appreciation for Khabby and what he meant to our team," said
When he looks back on his time
"It was pretty rough when we didn't play well and didn't have any fans," Khabibulin said. "But then the fans started to come back, games were on TV. … there was a positive buzz. All of a sudden, it was a lot of fun to play here."
-- Brian Compton, NHL.com
Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.