Oilers vs. Blackhawks – recreation Preview – August 7, 2020

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The Chicago Blackhawks have a chance to advance to the Western Conference quarterfinals with a win against the Edmonton Oilers in Game 4 of Friday’s best-of-five qualifying series.

Chicago grabbed a 2-1 series lead on Wednesday with a dramatic comeback victory. The Blackhawks trailed by a goal late in the third period, but Matthew Highmore tied the score with 5:47 remaining, and Jonathan Toews put Chicago on top with 1:16 to go.

About Oilers
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Oilers vs. Blackhawks – Game Preview – August 7, 2020

About Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks (spelled Black Hawks until 1986, and known colloquially as the Hawks) are a professional ice hockey team based in Chicago. They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the Central Division of the Western Conference. They have won six Stanley Cup championships since their founding in 1926. The Blackhawks are one of the “Original Six” NHL teams along with the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Since 1994, the club’s home rink is the United Center, which they share with the National Basketball Association’s Chicago Bulls. The club had previously played for 65 years at Chicago Stadium.The club’s original owner was Frederic McLaughlin, who owned the club until his death in 1944. Under McLaughlin, a “hands-on” owner who fired many coaches during his ownership, the club won two Stanley Cup titles. The club was then owned by the Norris family, who as owners of the Chicago Stadium were the club’s landlord, and owned stakes in several of the NHL teams. At first, the Norris ownership was as part of a syndicate fronted by long-time executive Bill Tobin, and the team languished in favor of the Norris-owned Detroit Red Wings. After the senior James E. Norris died in 1952, the Norris assets were spread among family members and James D. Norris became owner. Norris Jr. took an active interest in the team and under his ownership, the club won one Stanley Cup title in 1961.
After James D. Norris died in 1966, the Wirtz family became owners of the franchise. In 2007, the club came under the control of Rocky Wirtz, who is credited with turning around the organization, which had lost fan interest and competitiveness. Under Rocky Wirtz, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup three times between 2010 and 2015.

The rally tipped the series in favor of Chicago. According to the NHL, teams that win Game 3 after a series is tied 1-1 have gone on to win a best-of-five series 75 percent of the time (21-7).

“A five-game series is definitely different,” Toews said to reporters. “But you always know even in a seven-game series, Games 3 (and) 4 are always the toughest ones to close it out. We had some experience in the past knowing how to play and how to prepare for those big games. …

Oilers vs. Blackhawks – Game Preview – August 7, 2020

“Knowing that every game in the series has gotten tougher, that’s going to be the toughest game coming up.”

The Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cup titles since 2010, while the Oilers are built around youth and have emerged as a legitimate threat in recent seasons. It remains to be seen how Edmonton’s young core will handle the pressure of an upcoming elimination game.

Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl said he and his teammates have no choice but to play with desperation. The Hart Trophy finalist finished the regular season with a league-best 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) in 71 games, and he has stayed hot with six points (three goals, three assists) in the series’ first three games.

“It’s obviously disappointing, no question,” Draisaitl told reporters after the Oilers’ late collapse. “… Got to make sure we win the next two. I mean, we all know the situation we’re in right now. We have to prepare for a back-to-back. Whatever it takes to win two games in a row.”

Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are tied for the Oilers’ team lead with seven points apiece through three playoff games. McDavid has five goals and two assists, while Nugent-Hopkins has one goal and six assists.

The Oilers will be without center Tyler Ennis, who is out indefinitely with an apparent right leg injury after taking a hit from Chicago’s Kirby Dach in Game 3. Defenseman Adam Larsson remains in doubt after missing Game 3 with an injury.

For Chicago, Jonathan Toews and rookie Dominik Kubalik are tied for the lead with five points apiece. Toews has four goals and one assists, and Kubalik has two goals and three assists.

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is 2-1-0 with a 4.33 goals-against average and an .859 save percentage during the series.

On the opposite end of the ice, Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen is 1-1-0 with a 3.21 GAA and an .886 save percentage. He has played the bulk of the minutes ahead of veteran netminder Mike Smith, who allowed five goals in 26:32 of ice time for an unsightly 11.31 GAA and a .783 save percentage.

Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse said everyone must remain focused.

“It’s a long series,” Nurse told reporters. “There are still two games to be played. We battled and put ourselves in position at the end of the game that we could’ve won. But sometimes the bounces go the other way. We have to respond, come here Friday and play our best game.”

–Field Level Media

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