The Chicago Blackhawks head into Game 4 with a 2-1 series lead over the Edmonton Oilers, needing just one win to win their first playoff series since 2015.
The Chicago Blackhawks come into this game with a 2-1 series lead, with a chance to win their first playoff series in 5 seasons. Can Chicago use their momentum from a stunning win in Game 3 against the Edmonton Oilers, or will the Oilers bounce back and send this to a Game 5?
First Period (B+ Rating)
The Chicago Blackhawks started off the first period giving up a goal in the first minute, something they haven’t been shy of doing. They’ve given up a goal early in three of the first four games, something that hasn’t actually translated into a win for the Oilers.
Later in the period, Matthew Highmore scored his second career playoff goal, redirecting a puck that went in the back of the net. Highmore’s goal gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead just 8-minutes into the first period.
The period would go on, with the Blackhawks getting a Power Play but not converting. They had a few other chances to extend their lead, but they didn’t. Also, there needs to be a universal rule where Corey Crawford doesn’t play the puck from behind the net. He almost turned the puck over behind the net that would have given the Oilers the tying goal.
Chicago leads 2-1 after one.
Second Period (B- Rating)
The Oilers started the second period on the Power Play, off of a Highmore high-sticking penalty. Chicago killed the penalty but gave a goal almost right after. From there, the game was somewhat even, but Chicago kept committing stupid penalties, including a 5-minute major from Alex DeBrincat.
The Blackhawks killed off the 5-minute major, with them also getting some 4-on-4 hockey for 2 minutes. Their defense showed up big time, and Crawford made some key saves when needed to. This has shades of Game 3, with the Oilers keeping Chicago scoreless in the middle frame. Still, this game is wide-open. It truly could finish 3-2 or even 4-3.
Even though Chicago was scoreless, they played well defensively and killed off every penalty. They’ve started to look better and have gained momentum going into the third. They’ll start the third on the penalty kill, but they’re still very much alive in this game.
Edmonton is keeping Chicago in this game, it’s time for the Blackhawks to take the lead and finish off the series. These next 20 minutes will be crucial. I’d go as far as to say must-win, as a Game 5 gives the Oilers the advantage when it comes to last-change on the faceoffs.
2-2 after two.
Third Period (A+ Rating)
Just like Game 3, the Blackhawks went into the third period without scoring a single goal in the second period. They were in a rough spot, with the momentum being in favor of the Oilers after they had a really good second period.
There was a lot of back and forth hockey, with the Oilers being in control for most of the period. With just over 11 minutes left in the third, Dominik Kubalik scored a goal to make it 3-2 Chicago.
That goal would end up being the game-winner!
Chicago’s defense stepped up, along with Corey Crawford for the last 11 minutes of the game. Crawford made some key saves and their defense had some huge clears. They showed that they can win close games and shutdown really good offensive teams.
If Chicago plays how they did in the third period against either the Avalanche or the Golden Knights, they’ll have a heck of a shot to win that series.
3-2 Chicago, Final.
Overall (A Rating)
I gave the Blackhawks an A rating because of their Penalty Kill, defensive play, Corey Crawford’s great third period, and the fact that they shut down Connor McDavid. The next series won’t get any easier, but it’s amazing to see the Blackhawks back in the win column in a playoff series.
They did something very little people predicted they’d do, they made the playoffs and beat the Oilers. This is something I predicted months ago.
It’s a hill I was willing to die on and it turned out to be worth it!
We’ll have a few days to catch our breath, get some sleep, and get ready for the next opponent for the Chicago Blackhawks. I truly think this team can make a run. They’re getting hot, they just need more out of Patrick Kane and Dominik Kubalik.
"The Blackhawks aren’t elite, but they’ll cause trouble in the playoffs"
If Crawford keeps getting better, the Blackhawks will be a really tough out. I’m excited to see what they do next!