The Blackhawks may not be done with this season just yet.
Two goals from Alex DeBrincat during a three-goal second period helped Chicago win its fourth straight game with a 4-3 victory against the Oilers on Thursday night at the United Center.
Patrick Kane opened the scoring, taking in a pass from Dylan Strome and waiting for Edmonton goaltender Mike Smith to flail out of position, clearing a space for Kane to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.
Jonathan Toews doubled Chicago’s advantage 47 seconds into the second period.
DeBrincat made it 3-0 at 4:59 when his shot from the high slot found its way through a maze of bodies and into the net:
One minute after Debrincat’s goal, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins quieted the UC crowd by scoring off a rebound to break Corey Crawford’s shutout bid. DeBrincat restored Chicago’s advantage to three goals with another wrister through traffic at 13:02.
DeBrincat’s second goal chased Smith from the game and he didn’t seem particularly pleased with how his night unfolded.
Edmonton didn’t make it easy in the final period, though. Josh Archibald scored at 8:03 in the third, and Kailer Yamamoto added another goal 49 seconds later as Chicago’s three-goal advantage quickly dwindled to 4-3.
Despite a flurry of Edmonton shots and chances during the final 11 minutes, though, the Blackhawks hung on for a win.
In the end, that’s all that matters, isn’t it? Professional sports is the most results-based business that exists and Chicago got the result that they desperately needed, the win they’ve failed to obtain in so many other “big” games over the last few seasons.
And they did a ton of good things in the process:
- After two periods, Chicago owned a 37-23 advantage in even-strength shot attempts and a 25-12 advantage in shots on goal
- As Scott Powers of The Athletic mentioned on Twitter, Edmonton didn’t have a shot on goal during the final half of the second period
- Connor McDavid, probably the best player on the planet, had a 34.29 CF% in this game and was on the ice for eight high-danger chances against and just three in his favor
- The Blackhawks killed both power play opportunities for the league’s No. 1 power play unit
It wasn’t a flawless victory, but style points aren’t necessary in games like this — only the result is. We’ve all lamented Chicago’s ability to close out games against playoff-bound teams ... but that’s what they just did. Edmonton was always going to make a run: a team with two MVP candidates in Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid typically won’t go away without mounting a final charge. But the Blackhawks withstood it, and now the playoff race is a little bit tighter and Chicago’s next game just got a little bit more interesting.
And that’s all we were hoping for.
- Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — 2 goals
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 goal
- Adam Boqvist (CHI) — 2 assists
The Blackhawks hit the road for a Friday night game at 6:30 p.m. against the Red Wings at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit.