The Chicago Blackhawks battled back from an early two-goal deficit to tie the score in the second period Monday night, but they couldn't overcome Connor McDavid's hat trick, dropping Game 2 of their Stanley Cup qualifier series 6-3 to the Edmonton Oilers.
The best-of-five series is tied at a game apiece going into Game 3 on Wednesday, the Hawks' first "home" game in Edmonton, the hub city for the Western Conference playoffs.
The Oilers talked about "simplifying" their approach after losing Game 1, and it doesn't get any simpler than their apparent plan of attack in the rematch: Get the puck to McDavid and get out of the way.
McDavid's first goal put the Hawks on their heels just 19 seconds into the game. Defenseman Adam Boqvist failed to switch off with Duncan Keith, and McDavid found himself wide open in front of Corey Crawford at point-blank range.
Less than four minutes later, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins flipped the puck to McDavid on a one-man breakaway, and he zipped by Olli Maatta to put a second goal past Crawford.
Patrick Kane scored his first goal of the series in the first period, and Slater Koekkoek scored in the second. Alex DeBrincat assisted on both goals.
Maatta tied the score at 3 on a roller off Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen's leg.
McDavid's third goal stung the most. On a power play after Kirby Dach tripped Ethan Bear, McDavid's wrister from the circle appeared to ricochet off Crawford's stick and between his legs.
In the third period, the Hawks were victims of a couple of miscues.
Crawford contributed to the Oilers' fifth goal, whiffing on a clearing pass behind his net, and James Neal planted a quick wrap-around goal. Forty seconds later, the Hawks lost track of the puck during a pileup in front of Crawford, and Alex Chiasson snapped a wrister.
For all of the success the Hawks had on the power play in Game 1, they came up empty on six tries Monday.
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