Sports

/

ArcaMax

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 NaturalStatTrick.com -- 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.

...continued

swipe to next page