Blackhawks advance to 1st round of playoffs after beating Oilers, 3-2

Phil Thompson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Hockey

No need to use the "play-in" disclaimer anymore, the Chicago Blackhawks officially are a playoff team.

The 12th-seeded Hawks beat the No. 5 Edmonton Oilers, 3-2, Friday night on a third-period strike by Dominik Kubalik to advance to the Western Conference first round, where, as the lowest seed, they'll play the winner of Saturday's round-robin game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights.

"To be honest, I didn't think it would get in the net," Kubalik said. "I always try to shoot it as quick as possible."

Kubalik is the first Hawks rookie to score multiple game-winning goals in a postseason.

It's the first time the Hawks have won a postseason series since winning the 2015 Stanley Cup. They were swept by the Nashville Predators in their 2017 first-round series and lost to the St. Louis Blues in seven games in the first round of the 2016 playoffs.

The Hawks are now 57-30-3 in potential series-clinching games.


The Hawks were down 1-0 on Josh Archibald's goal 45 seconds into the game, but they answered with first-period goals by Brandon Saad and Matthew Highmore, who snuck a deflection into the net for the second straight game.

"Across our lineup guys stepped up their game," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "Got a lot of young guys, not a ton of playoff experience, showing what they can do."

Corey Crawford had an outstanding second period, facing 15 shots -- with six high-danger chances, according to -- stopping all but a goal by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins seconds after an Oilers power play expired. The Hawks had just nine shots on Mikko Koskinen in the period after putting up 12 in the first.

Alex DeBrincat drew a five-minute major for boarding Ethan Bear in the second period, but Edmonton's Darnell Nurse killed off two minutes of his team's power play by interfering with Drake Caggiula.


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