The Chicago Blackhawks upset the Edmonton Oilers in four games to move on to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Blackhawks won Games 1, 3 and 4 while the Oilers won Game 2 of the qualifying round. The Blackhakws were also the second of three lower seeded teams to pull off an upset series win (Blackhawks were No. 12 and Oilers were No. 5). Here’s a recap of Game 4 between the Blackhawks-Predators.
Edmonton wanted to make sure they don’t get eliminated in the hub city that they regularly play at during the regular season and playoffs. So, what do they do? They get a goal 45 seconds into the game from forward Josh Archibald. However, Hawks forward Brandon Saad scored 5:29 later to tie the game at one on a wrap-around shot. And, just to add to the Blackhawks’ momentum from Saad’s goal, forward Matthew Highmore scored to give the Hawks their first lead of the game. The Oilers kept pushing back during the halfway mark of the period but the Hawks were able to hold on to their lead.
Chicago went into the second period with a 2-1 lead.
Keeping with the theme of early goal scoring, Oilers forward Ryan-Nugent Hopkins scored at the 17:58 mark of the period tying the game at two. Hopkins’ goal would be the only goal scored this period. The Oilers also had a five minute power play from a major penalty call towards Hawks forward Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat got called for a boarding penalty on Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear. However, the Oilers didn’t sustain the full five minute power play due to defenseman Darnell Nurse committing a cross-checking penalty. And, through all of that, the Hawks were able to keep the game tied at two against the league’s best power play team during the regular season.
The game was tied at two heading into the third period.
Edmonton started off the period with a power play due to Highmore committing a high-stick penalty at the very last second from the second period. However, the Oilers couldn’t convert on that power play either. In fact, the Oilers were 0-for-5 on the power play this game. With 11:30 left in the game, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews outworked Bear on the end boards for the puck. Toews was able to pass the puck to forward Dominik Kubalik who then scored to regain the one goal lead. From there, it was a back and forth battle. Both goaltenders from both teams played probably their best games during this series. In the end, Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford got the better of Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen.
Chicago won the game 3-2 and the series 3-1. They will play either the Vegas Golden Knights or the Colorado Avalanche depending on who gets the top seed in the Western Conference. Also, this is the first series win in five years for the Blackhawks. The last time they were in the playoffs was in 2015 and won the Stanley Cup.
Three Stars of the Game:
Third Star: Dominik Kubalik (1 goal)
Second Star: Jonathan Toews (2 assists)
First Star: Corey Crawford (43 saves)