The Chicago Blackhawks defeated and dominated the Edmonton Oilers in game one of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers with a score of 6-4. The Blackhawks lead the series 1-0. The game was played at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta. Here’s a recap of game one between the Blackhawks and Oilers.
Before the Game
Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba gave an emotional speech speaking about the fight against racism and how it should end. “During this pandemic, something unexpected but long overdue occurred,” Dumba said. “The world woke up to the existence of systematic racism and how deeply rooted it is within our society.” He also reassured that this issue hasn’t “garnered too much attention” during these last two months. Dumba, also a part of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, finished his powerful speech by saying, “…Black lives matter. Breonna Taylor’s life matters. Hockey is a great game but it could be a whole lot greater. And, it starts with all of us.” The defenseman also knelt down during the United States national anthem being the first NHL player to do so. Blackhawks goaltender Malcolm Subban and Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse each put their hand on each of Dumba’s shoulders.
The Oilers went on a power play just about 1:30 into the game after Chicago got called for a too many men on the ice bench minor penalty. Edmonton comes into the qualifying round as the number one team in power plays and second in penalty kills. This was proven to be true as Oilers forward Connor McDavid scored on the team’s first power play. The events after that goal shocked most hockey fans. Hawks forwards Dylan Strome, Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad scored four unanswered goals with Toews scoring twice. Chicago outshot Edmonton 16-8 by the end of the period. To clarify, the Blackhawks came into the qualifying rounds as the No. 12 seed and the Oilers came in as the No. 5 seed.
Chicago went into the second period with a 4-1 lead.
Edmonton again went on an early power play. Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored on the power play off an assist from both Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid. However, this didn’t phase the Blackhawks one bit as Hawks rookie Dominik Kubalik scored twice, gaining back the team’s four-goal lead. After Kubalik’s second goal, the Oilers started to find ways to get more scoring chances with Draisaitl almost cutting the lead to three just before the end of the period.
Chicago was able to hold on to a four-goal lead with a score of 6-2 going into the third period.
Both teams were neck and neck in terms of shots on goal though the Blackhawks outshot Edmonton 10-9 this period. After being down four goals for most of this game, Edmonton was able to find their stride back just a bit. Oilers forward James Neal converts on another power play this time in the later stages of the game. Most of Edmonton’s goals came on the power play during this game. Nugent-Hopkins scored again 32 seconds after Neal’s goal cutting the Hawks lead down to two. Neal had a chance to score again but Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made the save to keep the team’s two-goal lead.
In the end, the Blackhawks were able to hold onto their lead and won the game 6-4.
No one had expected the Blackhawks to play the way they did against an offensive-minded Oilers team with McDavid and Draisaitl at the helm. Kubalik made history being the first player in NHL history to have five points in a postseason debut. Kubalik was also named a finalist for the Calder Trophy.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Connor McDavid (1 goal, 2 assists)
Second Star: Jonathan Toews (2 goals, 1 assist)
First Star: Dominik Kubalik (2 goals, 3 assists)
Game two of the Oilers-Blackhawks series is on Aug. 3 at 10:30 pm EST.