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Corey Crawford’s 48 saves help Blackhawks defeat Golden Knights 3-1 to avoid sweep

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Chicago ended its eight-game losing streak in the playoffs with its first playoff win since April 23, 2016.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Vegas Golden Knights at Chicago Blackhawks Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Crawford made 48 saves, and the Blackhawks defeated the Golden Knights 3-1 to avoid being swept in Game 4 on Sunday at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Crawford, who missed all but the final day of training camp after testing positive for COVID-19, has played every game in the series and four games in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. He made 25 saves in a 2-1 loss in Game 3 on Saturday in the first game of the back-to-back.

Drake Caggiula, Matthew Highmroe and Alex DeBrincat scored for the Blackhawks, who trail 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is at 9:30 p.m. Central time Tuesday. Teams with a 3-0 lead are 190-4 (97.9 percent) winning a best-of-seven playoff series.

The Blackhawks ended their eight-game losing streak in the playoffs, and won their first playoff game since April 23, 2016, when they defeated St. Louis in Game 6 in the first round.

Shea Theodore scored, and Robin Lehner made 22 saves for the Golden Knights, who lost their first game of the postseason. Lehner also lost his first game with Vegas since they acquired him from the Maple Leafs in a three-way trade with the Blackhawks on Feb. 24.

Caggiula gave Chicago its first lead of the series at 4:08 when he took a dish from Olli Maatta in the slot and one-timed it past Lehner. The play started in the Blackhawks’ zone when Kirby Dach slipped a pass to the neutral zone for Caggiula, whose pass to Patrick Kane missed and went off the boards for Maatta to retrieve. Maatta flipped a backhand pass in front of Kane and William Carrier to Caggiula for the goal.

Highmore banked a shot from below the goal line off Lehner’s mask to double the Blackhawks’ lead at 13:40. Duncan Keith chipped the puck behind the Chicago net along the boards to Highmore, who raced the length of the ice before firing his shot.

But the Blackhawks’ two-goal lead lasted only 18 seconds, as Theodore fired a one-timer from the point that found its way through traffic to make it 2-1.

The Golden Knights controlled the rest of the period and finished the frame leading in shot attempts (34-16), shots on goal (20-8) and scoring chances (21-5). That would be a theme for the second period as well as Vegas out-shot Chicago 16-7.

The Blackhawks killed two penalties in the second period, highlighted by some saves by Crawford and a scoring chance for Dach that he was unable to finish.

Chicago started the third period keeping the Golden Knights out of the slot for the most part, but the Blackhawks were still out-shot 13-10 in the period.

(Note: This tweet was written before the NHL added two saves to Crawford’s stat line)

DeBrincat, who had a game-high eight shots on goal in Game 3, scored into an empty net with 11 seconds remaining in the third period for the 3-1 final. It was his first career playoff goal.

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