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Blackhawks steal Game 3 from Oilers with 4-3 win, take 2-1 series lead

Matthew Highmore scored with 5:47 left to tie the game, then Jonathan Toews won it with 1:16 remaining.

Edmonton Oilers v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

The Blackhawks scored two goals in the final six minutes of Game 3 on Wednesday to storm back with a 4-3 win against the Oilers to push them within a win of advancing to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2017.

Matthew Highmore tied it 3-3 with 5:47 remaining before Connor Murphy put the puck on net that bounced off Ethan Bear’s stick and Jonathan Toews’ right knee for the game winner with 1:16 left. It was Toews’ second goal of the game and fourth of the series.

Corey Crawford made 25 saves for the Blackhawks.

Game 3 was defined for much of the contest by the sheer amount of penalties called on both teams. Both teams scored one power-play goal, with the Blackhawks’ coming on a 5-on-3 and the Oilers’ at the end of the second period for a 3-2 lead. Both came with less than 10 seconds left in a period.

Twenty-four penalty minutes were between the first and second period, 10 against the Blackhawks and 14 against the Oilers. No penalties were called in the third period.

The Blackhawks were 1-for-6 on the power play and took just four shots during 5-on-4 play. When the power play was at its best in this series, during Game 1, players shot the puck a lot more than it did in Games 2 or 3.

Olli Maatta scored to give Chicago a 1-0 lead at 9:14 when his shot from inside the blue line found its way through traffic. It was his second straight game with a goal.

The puck took a bounce before hitting the net, but it wasn’t off a Blackhawk. Still, credit to Kirby Dach for the tall boy screen.

Unfortunately, Maatta then went on to be a significant part of the Oilers scoring their first goal, as Leon Draisaitl snuck past him after he and Slater Koekkoek gave up the puck behind their net:

But then Maatta followed up with a good play by drawing the first of a string of penalties that led to the Blackhawks getting the lead back. The puck hit Toews’ skate and trickled across the goal line with 4.2 seconds remaining.

Draisaitl tied it 2-2 with his second goal 4:07 into the second off a rebound then he set up Connor McDavid for a power-play goal with 7.8 seconds left in the middle frame.

It was a dumb play from the penalty kill to leave McDavid undefended, and after starting the scoring, Maatta was on ice for all three goals. It started out so well, too.

Chicago hit the post five times in the first 45 minutes of the game. That’s one of the differences in this game, and luck didn’t do them any favors for much of a largely lackluster game.

The Blackhawks also had a string of chances they couldn’t capitalize on, as they kept either whiffing or hitting the post. That included two good chances from Dach to get his first postseason goal.

That would continue throughout the game, and it seemed like the puck was doing odd things sometimes. For reference, two games were played before the Blackhawks and Oilers took the ice.

Three players then got some redemption for some bad play earlier in the game with Maatta sending a pass to Slater Koekkoek, who blasted a shot which Highmore redirected to tie it 3-3.

Murphy then scored his first NHL postseason point when his shot hit Bear and Toews before going past Mikko Koskinen.

Game charts

Puck possession flow chart
Shot heat map

Three starz

1. Jonathan Toews (CHI) — 2 goals, GWG, .79 expected goals, 58.62 faceoff percentage

2. Leon Draisaitl (EDM) — 2 goals, primary assist, .85 expected goals

3. Matthew Highmore (CHI) — Game-tying goal, assist

What’s next

The Blackhawks look to advance to the playoffs by defeating the Oilers in Game 4, which starts at 5:45 p.m. Friday.