Along the Boards: Blackhawks survive vs Edmonton to win fourth straight

  

Both the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks came into Thursday nights game on hot streaks. The Oilers had a record of 5–1–1 in their last seven road games. Edmonton also has the best power play in the NHL and the second-best penalty kill in the league. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks came into Thursday nights game with a three game winning streak and the seventh best penalty pill in the league. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford has been solid in net with the fifth best save percentage of all goalies since January 5.

From the onset, both teams came out with great speed. Edmonton seemed to dominate possession early on but the Blackhawks were able to get some good looks on Oilers goalie Mike Smith. Brandon Saad was found alone in front of the net just four minutes in but was stopped by Smith. Just four minutes later Jonathan Toews had a breakaway but was denied on his five-hole attempt.

At the 11:17 mark, the league’s best power play was given their first chance as Ryan Carpenter was called for holding. Edmonton held possession for almost the entire power play but were denied several times by Crawford.

Three minutes after the penalty kill the Blackhawks scored the first goal of the game on a beautiful move by Patrick Kane. Kane’s 30th goal of the year was set up by Dylan Strome and Alex Nylander.

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The second period the Blackhawks absolutely dominated the Oilers and took over the game. Toews scored his 18th of the season just 47 seconds in on a wrap around to get the momentum going.

Alex DeBrincat came through with two goals in the second period. Both goals were very similar. Snap shots from the top of the circles with Drake Caggiula providing a screen out front. DeBrincat now has 18 goals on the season. Between the two DeBrincat goals, the Oilers finally got on the board with a goal from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. His 21st goal of the year.

The Blackhawks dominated the period outshooting the Oilers 14–4. After DeBrincat scored his second goal to make the game 4–1, Edmonton pulled goalie Mike Smith. Smith was replaced by Mikko Koskinen.

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The third period started out well for the Blackhawks but the high flying Oilers eventually made it a close game. Edmonton scored two goals just 49 seconds apart at the 8:03 and 8:52 minute marks of the period.

The first goal was scored on a two on one by Josh Archibald from a beautiful pass by Zack Kassian. There was confusion near the Blackhawks bench as to who was staying on the ice which led to a turnover and a goal by Archibald. The second goal scored in the period for Edmonton was by Kailer Yamamoto. His shot went in and out of the net so fast that no one else knew that he scored. The game continued but was eventually stopped and the play was reviewed. It did not take long to see that the puck went in and it was now a one goal game at 4–3.

WIth two minutes left in the game, Edmonton pulled their goalie but were not able to get off many good chances on Chicago goalie Corey Crawford. Crawford ended up with 21 saves in the game. With the Hawks chasing the last wildcard spot in the West, it was two huge points to gain especially against one of the top teams in the conference.

Late in the second period, Blackhawks defensemen Lucas Carlsson took a puck to the side of the head. He went down on the ice and it appeared that his ear was bleeding. He left the game and did not return. It was reported that Carlsson will travel with the team for it’s tonight against Detroit game but not sure if he will be available to play.

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The Blackhawks are now four points back of the last wild card spot in the Western Conference. Their next game is Friday night against the Detroit Red WIngs.

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Center Ice Forums Along the Boards: Blackhawks survive vs Edmonton to win fourth straight

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