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Stanley Cup Playoffs

Chicago Blackhawks vs Edmonton Oilers: Game 4 Preview

Corey Crawford #50, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Corey Crawford #50, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks go into Game 4 tonight against the Edmonton Oilers with ta 2-1 lead in the series, after winning 4-3 in Game 3, in a stunning fashion.

Playoff Records:

Chicago: 2-1
Edmonton: 1-2

Blackhawks’ Team Leaders:

Jonathan Toews  – 5 points (4G, 1A)
Dominik Kubalik – 5 points (2G, 3A)
Olli Maatta – 4 points (2G, 2A)

Projected Lines:

Forwards:

Dominik Kubalik — Jonathan Toews — Brandon Saad

Alex DeBrincat — Kirby Dach — Patrick Kane

Alex Nylander — Dylan Strome — Drake Caggiula

Matthew Highmore — David Kampf — Ryan Carpenter

Defense:

Duncan Keith — Adam Boqvist

Calvin de Haan — Connor Murphy

Olli Maatta — Slater Koekkoek

Goalie:

Corey Crawford

Malcolm Subban

After a huge win late in Game 3, the Chicago Blackhawks have a chance to close out the series against the Edmonton Oilers tonight. This series started off with Chicago having the edge over the Oilers, then, the momentum switched in favor of the Oilers.

It seemed like the Oilers were going to take Game 3 until Matthew Highmore tied the game late. The game finished with a Jonathan Toews goal, sending the Blackhawks to Game 4 with a 2-1 series lead.

Losses late in games that teams had won are demoralizing. The Blackhawks might have an advantage over the Oilers just because of that. They have another advantage in having the last change on faceoffs. Chicago did a great job keeping Jonathan Toews glued to Connor McDavid. It took McDavid out of most of the game.

Chicago has to get more scoring chances from their two big stars, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. They lacked that for most of the series. Of course, Toews has 4 goals in 3 games, with Kane having just 2. 7 of the 13 goals the Oilers have scored have come from McDavid and Draisaitl. Shutting down both of them in Game 4 is a must if Chicago wants to end the series tonight.

I think they can do that though. They did a really good job in Game 3 of shutting down McDavid, they just have to add that to Leon Draisaitl. It’s hard to shut down one of the best offenses in the NHL, but Chicago did great in Game 3 doing just that. It’ll be interesting to see what they do in tonight’s game. They just have to stay physical. That’s something that kept them in a game that they were close to losing.

Game Three Highlights:

Oilers’ Team Leaders:

Connor McDavid – 7 points (5G, 2A)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – 7 points (1G, 6A)
Leon Draisaitl – 6 points (3G, 3A)

Projected Lines:

Forwards:

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Connor McDavid — Josh Archibald

Andreas Athanasiou — Leon Draisaitl — Kailer Yamamoto

James Neal — Riley Sheahan — Zack Kassian

Gaetan Haas — Jujhar Khaira — Alex Chiasson

Defense:

Oscar Klefbom — Adam Larsson

Darnell Nurse — Ethan Bear

Kris Russell — Matt Benning

Goalies:

Mikko Koskinen

Mike Smith

The Edmonton Oilers are in a MUST-WIN situation, where they cannot afford another loss in the series. They are at a disadvantage with the Blackhawks having the last change on the faceoffs, but they have outplayed Chicago for must of the series.

Game 3 was a game they should have won, but the physical play and great defense showing in the first and third period for the Blackhawks was the reason why the Oilers lost. Chicago also stayed out of the box, something that cause fewer chances for the Oilers to pad their 1-goal lead. The breakdown of the Oilers in the last 6 minutes of Game 3 could have been the turning point of the series.

They’ll be missing one of their key players in the series in Tyler Ennis, who was injured on a hit from rookie Kirby Dach. Ennis played well in the series, adding help to Leon Draisaitl on that second line.

This game could come down to the bottom two lines, something Chicago has improved with as the series has gone on. If the two top lines cancel each other out, for the most part, tonight, it’s Chicago’s game. If McDavid and Draisaitl get scoring early, it’s Edmonton’s game.

Who has the edge?

For the fourth time this series, the Oilers (-133) are favored to win. The over/under is 6.5 goals, something we’ve seen a few times now. Each game has gone over, and there’s nothing that’s shown these teams won’t both light the lamp enough times to hit the over.                                     *Odds subject to change*

The Blackhawks did win Game 3 late though, something that could be the leaning factor of the series. This is a huge game and is must-win for both teams, as a Game 5 with the Oilers having the last change could be enough for the Oilers to beat Chicago in Game 5.

I’m expecting an exciting matchup, but I think the Blackhawks’ late win could be enough to give them the edge tonight.

"Why the Blackhawks need to win Game 4 vs Oilers"

Puck Drop is at 6:45 PM ET. Make sure to follow along on our Twitter page during the game, and come back here after the game for post-game reactions! Let’s Go Hawks! #AllForOne

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