Dominik Kubalik scored the go-ahead goal with 11:30 left in the third period, and the Chicago Blackhawks held on for a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night to close out a best-of-five qualifying series in four games and advance to the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Aug 7, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) skates during warmup against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference qualifications at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Twelfth-seeded Chicago earned a 3-1 series victory after posting their second straight win over fifth-seeded Edmonton, the conference’s hub city host. Brandon Saad and Matthew Highmore also scored for the Blackhawks, who advanced to the round of 16 for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign.
Josh Archibald and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for the Oilers, who failed to qualify for the round of 16 for the third season in a row. Connor McDavid tallied two assists and finished the series with nine points (five goals, four assists) in four games.
The Blackhawks broke a 2-2 tie when Jonathan Toews battled for the puck behind the net and slipped a short pass to Kubalik, who ripped a one-timer into the net for his third goal of the series. The 24-year-old rookie from the Czech Republic scored 30 goals in 68 games during the regular season.
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford finished with 43 saves. His counterpart, Mikko Koskinen, made 26 saves for Edmonton.
Edmonton started the scoring only 45 seconds after the opening faceoff. McDavid zipped a pass across the crease for Archibald, who buried a one-timer from the bottom of the left circle for his first career playoff goal in eight games.
Chicago evened the score at 1-1 at the 5:16 mark of the first period. The Oilers committed a turnover in the defensive end, and Saad capitalized with a wraparound goal for his second marker of the series.
The Blackhawks pulled in front 2-1 less than three minutes later. Highmore parked in front of the crease and deflected a shot by Duncan Keith into the net for his second goal in as many games.
Edmonton leveled the score at 2-2 at the 2:02 mark of the second period. Nugent-Hopkins tallied his second goal of the series on a slap shot, with assists from James Neal and McDavid.
The Oilers had a five-minute power play in the second period but could not convert. Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat drew a five-minute major for boarding Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear, who left the game but later returned.
—Field Level Media