The Oilers put up a good fight with their season on the line in Game 4, but the way it ended was still quite embarrassing as the Blackhawks advanced with a 3-2 win. With that, the 12th-seed Blackhawks advance to the First Round via a 3-1 series win.
For the most part, the Oilers avoided the sort of stinker of an effort to end their season that, say, the Penguins were guilty of. Yet, with the way things ended, the Oilers still ended their season with frustration and embarrassment.
With their season on the line, the Oilers were whistled for a too many men on the ice penalty with 2:02 left in the third period. Edmonton had been pushing Chicago pretty hard to try to tie what was a 3-2 game, but that became a tougher task when emptying the net merely made the final moments even-strength.
Game 4 of Blackhawks – Oilers started wildly enough that it seemed like this would be another one of those video-game-style scoring fests. Connor McDavid set up Josh Archibald for a 1-0 goal just 45 seconds into Game 4, and it was 2-2 mere minutes in the second period.
Consider a big mistake averted the possible turning point.
Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat took an egregious boarding penalty when he hit Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear. Edmonton would get a major power-play opportunity for the trouble, but couldn’t cash in. That happened in part because Darnell Nurse took a penalty during that opportunity, yet it was still the sort of moment you highlight if the game ended up being close.
And it was largely up to Corey Crawford to turn a Game 4 of trading haymakers into something the Blackhawks could manage.
Crawford finished Game 4 with 41 saves, including all 18 during a frantic third period. While goaltending was a mess for the Oilers whether it was Mike Smith or Mikko Koskinen in net during this series, Crawford stood tall at key times for Chicago.
Now all the Oilers have going for them is second-guessing moments like squandering that major power play. Oh, and hearing a lot of NHL Draft Lottery jokes between now and Monday’s drawing.
(5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (12) Chicago Blackhawks (CHI wins series 3-1)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks 6, Oilers 4 (recap) Monday, Aug. 3: Oilers 6, Blackhawks 3 (recap) Wednesday, Aug. 5: Blackhawks 4, Oilers 3 (recap) Friday, Aug. 7: Blackhawks 3, Oilers 2
NBC Sports will present up to 120 hours of coverage for the NHL’s 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedule on NBC, NBCSN and USA Network beginning August 1.
Qualifying Round series are best-of-five and will be contested between the teams seeded 5th through 12th in each conference. The winners of those series will join the top four teams from each conference, who will play round robin games to determine seeding, in the traditional 16-team Stanley Cup Playoffs format.
Games airing on NBC are exclusive. All games on NBCSN and USA Network will be blacked out in the local markets as they will be available on viewers’ local RSNs. Blackout rules apply to streaming coverage on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Some games will be joined in progress.
Following is NBC Sports’ telecast schedule for the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers through August 9:
Sunday, Aug. 2: Flyers 4, Bruins 1 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 3: Lightning 3, Capitals 2 (SO) (recap) Wednesday, Aug. 5: Lightning 3, Bruins 2 (recap) Thursday, Aug. 6: Flyers 3, Capitals 1 (recap) Saturday, Aug. 8: Flyers vs. Lightning, 8 p.m. ET – NBC Sunday, Aug. 9: Bruins vs. Capitals, 12 p.m. ET – NBCSN
(5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (12) Montreal Canadiens (MTL won series 3-1)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Canadiens 3, Penguins 2 (recap) Monday, Aug. 3: Penguins 3, Canadiens 1 (recap) Wednesday, Aug. 5: Canadiens 4, Penguins 3 (recap) Friday, Aug. 7: Canadiens 2, Penguins 0 (recap)
(6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (11) New York Rangers (CAR won series 3-0)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Hurricanes 3, Rangers 2 (recap) Monday, Aug. 3: Hurricanes 4, Rangers 1 (recap) Tuesday, Aug. 4: Hurricanes 4, Rangers 1 (recap)
(7) New York Islanders vs. (10) Florida Panthers (NYI won series 3-1)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Islanders 2, Panthers 1 (recap) Tuesday, Aug. 4: Islanders 4, Panthers 2 (recap) Wednesday, Aug. 5: Panthers 3, Islanders 2 (recap) Friday, Aug. 7: Islanders 5, Panthers 1 (recap)
(8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (9) Columbus Blue Jackets (Series tied 2-2)
Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets 2, Maple Leafs 0 (recap) Tuesday, Aug. 4: Maple Leafs 3, Blue Jackets 0 (recap) Thursday, Aug. 6: Blue Jackets 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT) (recap) Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT) Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Sunday, Aug. 2: Avalanche 2, Blues 1 (recap) Monday, Aug. 3: Golden Knights 4, Stars 3 (recap) Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche 4, Stars 0 Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights 6, Blues 4 (recap) Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche, 3 p.m. ET – NBC Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues, 3 p.m. ET – NBC
(5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (12) Chicago Blackhawks (CHI won series 3-1)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks 6, Oilers 4 (recap) Monday, Aug. 3: Oilers 6, Blackhawks 3 (recap) Wednesday, Aug. 5: Blackhawks 4, Oilers 3 (recap) Friday, Aug. 7: Blackhawks 3, Oilers 2 (recap)
(6) Nashville Predators vs. (11) Arizona Coyotes (ARZ won series 3-1)
Sunday, Aug. 2: Coyotes 4, Predators 3 (recap) Tuesday, Aug. 4: Predators 4, Coyotes 2 (recap) Wednesday, Aug. 5: Coyotes 4, Predators 1 (recap) Friday, Aug. 7: Coyotes 4, Predators 3 (OT) (recap)
(7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (10) Minnesota Wild (VAN won series 3-1)
Sunday, Aug. 2: Wild 3, Canucks 0 (recap) Tuesday, Aug. 4: Canucks 4, Wild 3 (recap) Thursday, Aug. 6: Canucks 3, Wild 0 (recap) Friday, Aug. 7: Canucks 5, Wild 4 (OT) (recap)
(8) Calgary Flames vs. (9) Winnipeg Jets (CGY won series 3-1)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Flames 4, Jets 1 (recap) Monday, Aug. 3: Jets 3, Flames 2 (recap) Tuesday, Aug. 4: Flames 6, Jets 2 (recap) Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames 4, Jets 0 (recap)
NBC’s coverage of the NHL’s Return to Play continues with Friday’s Stanley Cup Qualifier matchup between the Blackhawks and Oilers. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Watch the Blackhawks-Oilers stream at 6:45 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
Trailing 3-2 with under six minutes to go in regulation, the Blackhawks tied the game on rookie Matthew Highmore’s goal and then captain Jonathan Toews scored his second goal of the game with 1:16 remaining in the 3rd period which gave Chicago the comeback win.
A loss in this game would send the Oilers home from the bubble for the offseason, while the rest of the postseason will go on in their arena as Rogers Place will host the remaining Western Conference games and both Conference Finals and then the Stanley Cup Final.
Many expected this to be a high-scoring series given the star power on both sides and so far it has lived up to that billing. The teams have combined for 26 goals for an average of 8.67/game – dwarfing the league average this postseason.
WHAT: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers WHERE: Rogers Place – Edmonton WHEN: Friday, August 7, 6:45 p.m. ET TV: NBCSN ON THE CALL: Brendan Burke, Pierre McGuire LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Blackhawks-Oilers stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.
(5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (12) Chicago Blackhawks (CHI leads 2-1)
Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks 6, Oilers 4 (recap) Monday, Aug. 3: Oilers 6, Blackhawks 3 (recap) Wednesday, Aug. 5: Blackhawks 4, Oilers 3 (recap) Friday, Aug. 7: Oilers vs. Blackhawks, 6:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream) Saturday, Aug. 8: Blackhawks vs. Oilers, TBD *if necessary
There were some serious NHL Game 3 upsets, and even the way the upsets happened must have been extra-upsetting for the favorites.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Panthers live to fight another day.
Breaking the underdog trend, powerful round-robin teams the Avalanche and Lightning won. (Then again, the Presidents’ Trophy winners won’t be the East’s top seed, so maybe that underdog trend still tracks …)
For the first time in more than four years, the Panthers won a playoff game. They avoided being swept by the Islanders in the process, riding some quick strikes in the third period. Florida protected Sergei Bobrovsky reasonably well, and may feel a little more confident after Wednesday. Of course, it would help if Jonathan Huberdeau can play in Game 4 after being shaken up by a collision with a Panthers teammate.
Despite carrying much of the play — especially when the “JOFA” line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, and Viktor Arvidsson were on — the Predators could only beat Darcy Kuemper once. Kuemper bounced back from a bumpy Game 2 to hold down the fort for Arizona. Taylor Hall ended up scoring the insurance goal and added an assist to give the Coyotes a chance to advance in Game 4.
After losing their first two games of the Eastern Conference Round Robin, the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins won’t be able to secure the top seed in their conference. Tough break for the only NHL team to reach 100 standings points, but that’s the nature of the beast as COVID-19 disrupts both life and sports. The Lightning, meanwhile, won their first two of three round-robin games, so they have a strong chance to take the top seed.
Following a buzzer-beater win against the defending champion Blues, the Avalanche didn’t leave their second round-robin game to chance. Cale Makar kicked off the scoring with a power-play goal 3:19 into the game, and the Avalanche never really looked back. So far, the Avalanche look as speedy and scary as hockey diehards were hoping.
This time around, this wasn’t about Carey Price standing on his head (or nearly doing so). In a dramatic affair, the Penguins built a 3-1 lead early in the second period. That lead, and the Penguins themselves, would absolutely fall apart. The Canadiens surged back to win Game 3, and did so convincingly. Yeah, wow.
The Oilers and Blackhawks raise that “Yeah, wow” to … I don’t know, a “Super wowzers?” Wednesday featured some lower seeds stunning favorites, and while the Penguins carry far more clout than the Oilers, Edmonton still lost in a more staggering way. In another game of swings, Connor McDavid gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead in the dying seconds of the second period. The Oilers protected that lead for a decent portion of the third, until it all fell apart with two late Blackhawks goals. Just like that, Edmonton is on the brink of elimination. Hockey can be pretty wild, gang.
Tampa Bay Lightning (2-0-0, 4 points)
Philadelphia Flyers (1-0-0, 2 points)
Washington Capitals (0-0-1, 1 point)
Boston Bruins (0-2-0, 0 points)
Western Conference Round Robin Standings
Colorado Avalanche (2-0-0, 4 points)
Vegas Golden Knights (1-0-0, 2 points)
St. Louis Blues (0-1-0, 0 points)
Dallas Stars (0-2-0, 0 points)
NHL’s Three Stars from Wednesday
1. Darcy Kuemper, Arizona Coyotes
As Wednesday went along, NHL Game 3 upsets became a pattern, and the results became increasingly shocking. A higher seed Predators team falling to the Coyotes feels less jarring when you compare it to the other stunning NHL Game 3 upsets of the day.
Still, this was the standout effort.
Kuemper helped the Coyotes author a familiar version of this one, an upset far more typical than the Blackhawks and Canadiens more or less matching the Oilers and Penguins respectively. In the case of the Coyotes beating the Predators, much of the result had to do with a goalie standing on his head.
After a tough Game 2, Kuemper stopped 39 out of 40 shots to snare Game 3 from the Predators. Kuemper’s best work came early, as the Coyotes took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission despite Nashville managing a 19-9 SOG advantage.
You can definitely ding Weber a bit when he might have let up a bit during a delayed penalty, which would have been called on him if Patric Hornqvist didn’t bury a beautiful assist by Evgeni Malkin. But, overall, Weber was fantastic in Montreal’s flabbergasting 4-3 win against the Penguins. Along with scoring one goal and two assists for three points, Weber was stout defensively. That included two goals for and zero against at even-strength. Weber likely played a prominent role in the Habs making sure the Penguins’ third-period comeback attempt was generally, shockingly feeble.
If you feel like Jonathan Toews should get the nod, that’s understandable. Toews scored two goals, and played a big role in the Blackhawks’ win. (So did a torrent of deflections, but still, Toews was great.)
Toews will feel fine taking the win and being a victory away from the formal 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Yet, Leon Draisaitl looked like the 2020 Art Ross winner out there. Draisaitl factored into all three Oilers goals (two goals, one assist) and carried the sort of underlying stats he doesn’t always generate.
Hockey Twitter might want to “free Connor McDavid,” but some sympathy should be saved for Draisaitl, too.
2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers — top highlights from Monday
Honestly? It’s probably wise to plunk down those Oilers – Blackhawks highlights, wholesale:
If you need a single highlight, the decisive goal from Predators – Coyotes could do the trick. Derek Stepan made a fantastic pass, then Conor Garland completed the highlight-reel-game-winner by stupefying the Predators:
What a fabulous, unexpected breakout season from Garland …
By grabbing an assist in Game 3, Sidney Crosby broke a tie with Doug Gilmour and Joe Sakic for eighth all-time in scoring with his 190th playoff point. Telling him that after Game 3 would probably mainly earn you a frown, though.
Jeff Petry already has two postseason game-winning goals for the Canadiens. Via NHL PR, he’s the sixth Canadiens defenseman to generate at least two in a single playoff run.
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 goal 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 make it that far. Just like that, the Oilers’ season is on the line.
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