For much of Blackhawks – Oilers Game 3, it seemed like the story would be Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl using their star power to overcome Edmonton’s sloppiness, and Chicago’s veteran savvy. Instead, the old dog still has tricks, and Chicago’s magic stunned Edmonton. The Blackhawks shocked the Oilers with a late surge to win Game 3 by a score of 4-3, and push Edmonton to the brink of elimination via Chicago’s 2-1 series lead.
McDavid and Draisaitl not enough for Oilers vs. Blackhawks in Game 3
Yes, you could throw the word “sloppy” around for every game in this Blackhawks – Oilers series so far, but Edmonton teetered on the edge of self-destruction early in Game 3. Then, after seemingly righting the ship, the Oilers instead saw it sink in a shocking stretch.
From late in the first period to early in the second, the Oilers kept going to the penalty box. Edmonton took four straight penalties, and five of six, during a span that could have derailed them. In particular, Kailer Yamamoto made some potentially lethal unforced errors.
But Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were there to bail their teammates out.
Draisaitl scored Edmonton’s first two goals, helping the Oilers stay in the portions of Game 3 where the Blackhawks seemed primed to pull away.
Then, after Alex DeBrincat bafflingly received an additional penalty after a scrum with Matt Benning, McDavid scored a huge 3-2 in the dying seconds of the second period.
For a significant stretch in the ensuing third period, it seemed like the Oilers might actually protect a lead. There was the impression that, for once, this series wouldn’t be about merely “outscoring your problems.”
Toews, Blackhawks win Game 3 with late goals
To start the last collapse, the Blackhawks made it 3-3 with less than six minutes remaining in the third period when Matthew Highmore tipped a hard Slater Koekkoek shot. Then, with 1:16 left, Jonathan Toews was credited with a shocking 4-3 goal when a puck deflected off of the stick of Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear and past goalie Mikko Koskinen.
(Even if Toews might have been lucky to get credit for the game-winner, the Blackhawks captain was a beast in Game 3. He finished with two goals, and Toews came close to scoring on other opportunities. In other words, the star power isn’t just on Edmonton’s side.)
It was stunning enough for the Oilers to see the Blackhawks potentially push Game 3 into overtime. Obviously, they didn’t even it make it that far. Just like that, the Oilers’ season is on the line.
So much for the Penguins dealing with the most stunning Game 3 loss from Wednesday, eh?
Scary injury for Ennis?
After two games full of wild scoring, Game 3 of Blackhawks – Oilers was close enough that tensions were able to climb.
There was some of that playoff nastiness, for sure. That nastiness may climb after Tyler Ennis appeared to suffer a rough-looking leg injury awkwardly bracing for a hard Kirby Dach hit.
Later on, Dach was shaken up by a Josh Archibald hit, but was able to return to Game 3.
If Ennis is out, consider that a tough injury loss stacked upon the Oilers’ gut-punch Game 3 defeat. In Game 4 on Friday, the Blackhawks get a chance to deal the final blow to a season that at times seemed special for the Oilers.
If patterns hold, the Oilers will once again call upon McDavid and Draisaitl — while Toews and the Blackhawks are sure to make things interesting.
(5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (12) Chicago Blackhawks (CHI leads series 2-1)
Friday, Aug. 7: Oilers vs. Blackhawks, 6:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Saturday, Aug. 8: Blackhawks vs. Oilers (if necessary), TBD
• 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.