Blackhawks shock Oilers with Game 3 win


by - Staff Writer -
USA Today Sports Handout Photo
USA Today Sports Handout Photo

On paper, the Blackhawks series with Edmonton was a David Vs. Goliath matchup with most expecting Edmonton to move on. That is why games are not played on paper as Chicago has now gone toe-toe with the Oilers, but has now pushed them to the brink of elimination in their five-game series taking game three last night 4-3 and leading the series 2-1.

Offense continued to be the story early in this game, but when the Blackhawks needed Corey Crawford the most, he delivered. Despite stopping 25 of the 28 shots he faced, it was his performance in the third that helped pave the way for the Blackhawks win as he kept Edmonton off the board in the final period and allowed the offense to go to work.

We are getting ahead of ourselves with that so let's catch up to all that action before the final period. If there was one thing the Blackhawks needed to work on in this series, it might be limiting the scoring chances for Edmonton and not letting them score quickly. Those adjustments seemed to pay off in the first when it over nine minutes for the first goal, which came from Olli Maatta giving Chicago the 1-0 lead. Patrick Kane and Matthew Highmore were in on the assist.

Quick responses are what Edmonton has been accustomed to in this series, and that was indeed the case here as the Oilers wasted no time responding. Less than 30 seconds after falling behind, the Oilers were able to draw even as Leon Draisaitl continued his video game-like season with an assist from Tyler Ennis making things 1-1. With the game still tied late in the period, Chicago was gifted with a Power play opportunity and a chance to grab the lead late. That is precisely what they did as Kirby Dach and Alex Debrincat were credited with a late first period assist as Jonathan Toews lit the lamp with five seconds to go giving Chicago a 2-1 lead after one.

The second period belonged to Edmonton as their offense did enough to grab the lead while Mikka Koskinen was strong in net. After starting slow in the first period, Draisaitl made sure that wouldn't be a two-period occurrence Adding his second goal of the night just four minutes to tie things up 2-2 with Matthew Benning getting credit for the assist. That score remained intact until the final minute of play when it was Connor McDavid's turn once again picking up his fifth goal of the series and third via the Powerplay to give Edmonton a 3-2 lead with 20 minutes to go.

Knowing that this is a do or die period for Chicago, things certainly were not looking good early as neither team was finding any luck on the offensive end. That was until 14 minutes into the period when the Blackhawks offense finally began showing signs of life again. With Crawford doing his part in net, it was time for the offense to back him up as Highmore tied the game 2-2 with his first goal of the series as Maatta and Slater Koekkoek picking up points with the assists.

With less than three minutes remaining, both teams were on a frenzy to get the go-ahead goal, but overtime seemed like a mood point at this stage. That was until a costly Edmonton mistake late in the third gave the Blackhawks with an opportunity and a chance to steal a win from the No. 5 seed. Searching for a series changing goal, Duncan Keith brought the puck up from the defensive end as he was looking for help. Connor Murphy was controlling the offensive end as someone needed to get open for the shot.

That, someone, was none other than Toews himself as he buried home his fourth goal of the series and second of the night putting the Blackhawks in front 4-3 with about 90 seconds remaining. With an extra skater on the ice, Edmonton was about to go full go on Crawford in goal as they needed this goal more than any previous goal. Despite being tested several times on the defensive side of the ice, Chicago stood tough to hold off the Oilers 4-3 and coming within one win of moving on in the postseason.

MVP Player: You must give Crawford some credit in this one as his play in the third gave Chicago a chance to come back. However, the MVP of the game goes to none other than Toews himself as he not only put home two go-ahead goals but delivered the game-winner late to give the Blackhawks a huge win. Maatta also had a nice night on the ice picking up one goal and one assist while Highmore scored his first goal to go with his assist.

Edmonton was led by Draisaitl once again as he picked up a pair of goals to go with one assist. McDavid continued his huge series with yet another goal, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ennis continue to pile up the assists in the losing effort.

Game four is set for Friday with game five set for Sunday, if necessary.

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