The Edmonton Oilers got a much needed 6-3 win Monday night over the Chicago Blackhawks. After a disappointing 6-4 loss on Saturday afternoon the Oilers, and most importantly captain Connor McDavid responded. McDavid registered his first career postseason hat-trick and the Oilers played stingy defense in front of Mikko Koskinen to work their way to a win. Here’s the game recap:
19 seconds in, the Oilers scored from the stick of their captain after a Darnell Nurse shot got blocked and bounced to the slot. McDavid who was undetected got a quick shot off that went into the top corner. To the Hawks dismay, McDavid was just getting started. Just a few minutes later, McDavid received a pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and sped around Hawks defenseman Olli Maatta and placed a perfect backhand shot into the top corner.
Two-zero Oilers just 4:05 minutes in. The Oilers got a chance to extend their lead after they got a PP but they didn’t score. A couple of minutes after the penalty expired the Hawks answered back. After a Slater Koekkoek’s chance was snuffed out by Ethan Bear, Alex Debrincat would make a nice move to get around Nugent-Hopkins and feed Patrick Kane for the finish. That cut the Oilers’ lead in half to two-one.
Once again, the Oilers struck early in the period. Tyler Ennis scored for the Oilers after some good work in the defensive end. It started off with Ennis throwing a puck to the net from the point, and thanks to a good screen from Leon Draisaitl and a couple of Blackhawks defenders, it caught Corey Crawford by surprise and the puck went in.
The Hawks answered back quickly once again. This time it was on the stick of defenseman Slater Koekkoek. After some good cycling from the Blackhawks Koekkoek who snuck behind Darnell Nurse and got the puck from Alex DeBrincat and make no mistake, putting it under the arm of Mikko Koskinen.
Hawks Answer Back
The Hawks would tie it up later in the period on the stick of Olli Maatta. After a parade to the penalty box which saw the Hawks go on the PP, and get no goals, Maatta would shoot the puck from the point after Kirby Dach worked it around the net to him. The puck would eventually deflect off of Kris Russell (who was trying to block it) and into the net. A lucky bounce for the Hawks but they’ll take it as the game was tied at three to three.
But luckily for the Oilers the would get a lucky bounce as well. During a PP Connor McDavid would try and pass to the front of the net and fortunately, it would bounce off Duncan Keith and in the net. The period would end at 4-3 Oilers.
The third period would end up to be very dull for viewers. The Oilers played good shutdown defense and would limit the Hawks chances to score. There would be 2 goals scored in the period, both by the Oilers. The first one was a gift that Corey Crawford should have had. After a dump-in from Jujhar Khaira, Crawford would proceed to leave his net to trap the puck. The puck hopped over his stick and into the waiting stick of James Neal who made no mistake.
The next goal came 30 seconds later. After Neal made a good drive to the net that was stopped by Crawford, the puck would squirt out of the crease and into Alex Chaisson’s stick who also made no mistake from beside the net. That would end the game and give the Oilers a much needed 6-3 win and tie the series at 1.
Oilers 3 Best Players
McDavid played like a man on a mission all game. He had 3 goals, 2 of them highlight reel and played well in the defensive zone. He led his team by example and showed why he is the best player in the world. If he is this dominant for the rest of the series then the Hawks will be in big trouble.
Despite being in the shadow of his captain, McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins put up 3 points, all assists. He made numerous plays in the defensive zone where he would win a puck battle and get it out. He also chipped in the faceoff circle, winning 100% of his faceoffs. RNH has quietly put up 6 points in 2 games.
After coming in for Mike Smith in game 1, Koskinen did great. He only let in 1 goal on 19 shots and made numerous tough saves. In-game 2 he did more of the same. He stopped 23 shots and let in 3 goals. He made clutch stops at the right time when the Oilers needed it the most. Look for Koskinen to start game 3.
Oilers 3 Worst
After putting up 3 points in game 1, Leon followed that up with a bad game. He had 0 SOG and 0 points in 20 mins of ice time. He was not moving his feet and had 2 giveaways. This is not the art ross winning player we’ve seen all season long. His line may be split up as they have not been putting up many points at even strength.
Larsson has not had a good series so far. He is a defensive defenseman which means that he should be excelling defensively. However, he is not. During his 21 minutes of ice time, he let multiple Hawks get past him for grade A chances or odd-man rushes. Oilers need him to step up soon because Mikko Koskinen can’t bail him out every time.
Despite drawing to penalty’s in the game, Yamamoto’s game had been bland. He has not been creating nearly as many scoring chances as he did in the regular season and he has no points so far in the series. He finished -1 last game and maybe a bit nervous in his first-ever playoff experience
Blackhawks 3 Best
Koekkoek was all over the Oilers, all game. He made multiple rushes up the ice and created havoc for the Oilers in transition. He finished with 2 points and a +2 rating. The Oilers will have to be wary of the former 10th overall pick for the rest of the series.
After a tough game one for DeBrincat, he bounced back in game 2 with a good game. He had 2 assists and at the end of the game was promoted to the second line. Despite only having 13 minutes of ice time he finished +3 and made various plays where he would get around a defender and feed a teammate for a scoring chance.
Dach also had a good game, he finished the night with 2 assists and completely shutdown the Leon Draisaitl line. No easy task. Dach really uses his big 6″6 body well to shield the puck to set up scoring chances for his teammates. So far this series he has looked very calm despite being a rookie
Blackhawks 3 Worst
For this whole series, Crawford has looked a bit rusty. He let in 4 goals the first game and 6 in the second game. A possible reason that he is rusty is that he only got 1 week to train, due to the fact that he had COVID-19. 4 of the 6 goals scored by the Oilers should have been stopped. From not tracking the puck, to letting the puck hop over his stick, Crawford has had many mishaps in the series.
In-game one, Keith looked good. He was disrupting passes in the defensive zone and had 2 assists on the PP. Game 2 was a different story. He was atrocious at times in the defensive end, letting people past him, or giving the puck away. He finished the night -3, had 4 penalties, and 2 giveaway. Not a good showing by the former Norris Trophy winner.
Strome had an awful night defensively. He finished -4 (Worst on the Hawks) and did not do anything in the O zone. Strome would be late getting back on defense and could not keep his man in front of him. He let Alex Chaisson sneak past him on the sixth goal. He got demoted to the third line late in the game and we may see him there next game.
The next game for these teams is on August 5 at 8:30 MT. Mikko Koskinen and Corey Crawford will be the goaltenders in net for that one. Look for a fired-up Drake Caggulia who will be returning from a 1 game suspension. Don’t forget to look out for the next Oilers vs Blackhawks recap!
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