The Edmonton Oilers dropped a 4-3 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday afternoon. The Oilers got goals from Draisaitl and McDavid, while the Hawks got help from some unexpected sources as Matthew Highmore netted the game winner late in the game. The win puts Chicago one game away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Playoffs Game Four is set to go this Friday at 4:45pm MTN.
Let’s take a look at this rollercoaster of a game.
This one didn't have nearly as exciting a start as the past two games in the series. In fact, it was quite the opposite, as both teams looked a bit sloppy in all zones of the ice. The Oilers got an early chance on the powerplay after Jonathan Toews got caught hooking Ethan Bear in the Oilers end. It wasn’t much of an advantage for the Oilers, however, as they failed to register a shot and struggled to set it up.
Kirby Zach would fire a LOUD shot off the post mere moments after the powerplay expired in what was Chicago’s best chance of the period thus far. 7 minutes into the period and the shots were 3-0 in favour the Hawks; the Oilers struggled to get pucks on net early on.
Olli Maatta would eventually break the goose-egg as he let a point shot go through heavy traffic, past Koskinen and into the net. 1-0 Hawks as they opened up the scoring for the first time in this series. The lead wouldn’t be enjoyed too long as some good offensive pressure by Yamamoto and Ennis led the puck to Draisaitl in front of the net where he would bury it. We had a tie game. 1-1.
The last half of the period would see the Oilers get into some penalty trouble. A pair of holding calls would put the Hawks on a two man advantage which Toews would dribble the go-ahead goal with four seconds remaining in the period. After 20 minutes the Hawks held a 2-1 advantage.
The name of the game in this period was penalty killing for the Oilers. The Hawks started the period on the powerplay, but some strong play from Koskinen was able to hold them at bay. It was then Yamamoto who sat for two soon after, getting caught with a boarding call. The Oilers were able to kill it off and it paid off, as Leon Draisaitl tucked a rebound to tie this game once again. 2-2 game early on in the second.
It was then a parade to the penalty box for the remainder of the period. The Hawks had a total of three power plays in the period which resulted in a lot of time spent in the Edmonton end. Luckily, both the penalty kill and Koskinen were able to weather the storm.
A scary play near the end of the period, as Tyler Ennis collided with Kirby Dach behind the Edmonton net. Ennis left the game favouring his right foot, a quick look at the replay shows that it bent in ways ankles shouldn’t bend. Hoping for a speedy recovery for the Edmonton native.
The Oilers were able to catch a break late in the period, as a scuffle in front of the Edmonton net resulted in the team’s third power-play of the game. With less than 10 seconds left in the period some chaos in front of the Chicago net would give McDavid a clear shot, which he tucked, giving the Oilers a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
The third and final frame was all Chicago as they pushed to tie things up. They had chance after chance until, finally, one beat Koskinen. A point shot by Koekkoek was tipped by Matthew Highmore late in the period to tie things up at 3-3. A few moments later the Hawks would get the lead after Toews tipped one home.
That would be it for the Oilers. They saw their lead quickly evaporate in the final minutes and now find themselves in a do or die situation as they enter game four this Friday.
- For the second game in a row the Oilers ran into penalty trouble, which has put them on their heels in crucial parts of the game and cost them at times. In such a short playoff series where a few mistakes can spell the end for your run, you can’t be taking as many penalties as they have. Have to work on being more discipline.
- Leon Draisaitl had his break out game of the series. His two goals tied the game and he assisted on McDavid’s late second period marker. Safe to say that Neon Leon has officially entered the series.
- Athanasiou was elevated to the Draisaitl line after Ennis left the game....and I liked him there. He didn’t have as good a game as he did in game two, but he looked solid. Hopefully he sticks there.
- Koskinen seemed to fighting the puck all night long. He didn’t have a and game by any means but he seemed to struggle with his rebounds on plays in close. Had a lot of trouble with deflections as most of the goals against changed directions. I see no reason not to go back to him for game four.
- The play that Ennis got injured on should’ve been called. In any normal game I probably wouldn’t have said that, since Ennis did turn at the last second, but considering how the officials were calling things tonight it was a clear boarding call. Officiating was a sore point in this one as they were calling some pretty ticky-tack plays.
- Have to imagine either Joakim Nygard or Gaetan Haas draws into the lineup if Ennis isn’t good for game four. Of course, Patrick Russell is also a distinct possibility.
- Oilers have to get out of their own way. Both Russell and Bear deflected goals against. Gotta pick better moments to block shots.
- It’s do or die time for the Edmonton Oilers. They trail the series 2-1 and HAVE to find a way to win two in a row if they want to continue their playoff run. See you guys Friday.