Blackhawks score two late to push Edmonton Oilers to the brink

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen (19) stops Chicago Blackhawks' Ryan Carpenter (22) and Matthew Highmore (36) as Oilers' Oscar Klefbom (77) defends during second period NHL Stanley Cup qualifying round action in Edmonton, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan

The Chicago Blackhawks scored two goals in the final six minutes to edge the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 Wednesday night at Rogers Place.

The Blackhawks lead the best-of-five qualifying round series 2-1.

The teams traded goals 28 seconds apart midway through the first period. Olli Maatta’s point shot went through a crowd and eluded Mikko Koskinen. Leon Draisaitl cashed in a goal mouth chance to make it 1-1.

The Hawks went on a two-man advantage late in the first and took the lead when a centering pass dribbled in off of Jonathan Toews’ skate.

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The Oilers took advantage of a Chicago giveaway four minutes into the second. Draisaitl ripped in the rebound from Matt Benning’s point shot to tie it 2-2.

Tyler Ennis left the game late in the second without putting weight on his right leg. He was hit hard into the boards by Kirby Dach.

Captain Connor McDavid says the injury was only part of the frustration.

“Yamo (Kailer Yamamoto) hits a guy from behind, they call a penalty. Dach hits him on the numbers and his leg gets caught up – I get you can’t call a result but, same type of penalty that Yamo took earlier in the period,” he said.

Head Coach Dave Tippett says it’s not clear if Ennis will be able to return for game four.

“Athanasiou is a guy certainly we’ll look at to move up and then we’ll figure out who’s coming in on the bottom end, if Ennis can’t play. We’ve got options there, haven’t decided yet,” he said.

LISTEN: Connor McDavid & Darnell Nurse:

With 7.8 seconds left in the second, Connor McDavid collected a rebound in tight and flipped a shot past Corey Crawford for a power play goal.

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Chicago pulled even with 5:47 remaining in the third when Matthew Highmore tipped in a point shot. With only 1:16 to go, Connor Murphy took a long shot on Koskinen. Ethan Bear tried to knock the puck into the corner but wound up deflecting it off the leg of Toews, and over Koskinen’s left shoulder.

LISTEN: Head Coach Dave Tippett:

Tippett says just like Monday night, his team spent too much time in the box.

“You’re tempting fate when you take penalties, especially when you’ve got penalty killers taking penalties. You tempted fate, but we got the goal at the end of the second period,” he said.

“In actual fact, the third period’s rolling along, and there’s not much happening at either end. So you’re rolling along, and then we made a couple mistakes at the end that ended up in the back of our net.”

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Draisaitl agreed that the penalties were a factor.

“We had a great penalty kill, but it’s obviously very taxing on those guys. And like I said, it kills the rhythm a little bit, but I mean in this case, it probably wasn’t the main reason why we lost,” he said.

Listen: Leon Draisaitl & Andreas Athanasiou:

With defenceman Adam Larsson unfit to play, Caleb Jones was inserted into the lineup for his first career playoff game.

Game four is Friday at 4:45 p.m. The Face-off Show on 630 CHED will start at 2 p.m.

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