Rookie winger Dominik Kubalik scored two objectives and added three assists, main the Chicago Blackhawks to a 6-Four win over the host Edmonton Oilers within the opener of their best-of-five qualifying spherical collection on Saturday.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews added two objectives and one help.
Connor McDavid had a aim and three assists for Edmonton.
He mentioned the Oilers first have to evaluate the sport tape and go from there.
“There’s tons that should get achieved,” mentioned McDavid.
“It wasn’t good from the beginning … I believed we did a greater job as the sport went on of holding it easy. That’s what our staff must do finally is be less complicated.”
Kubalik’s five-point sport was a continuation of the torrid scoring tempo set by the 24-year-old Czech ahead and a Calder Trophy finalist because the league’s rookie of the 12 months.
He had 30 objectives and 16 assists earlier than regular-season play was halted in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We bought scored on within the first couple of minutes however I we got here again fairly fast,” Kubalik mentioned. “I felt actually good, every little thing went my approach, so clearly it’s good but it surely’s simply the primary sport. We’ve bought to maintain going.”
In Wednesday’s exhibition sport in opposition to St. Louis, he had two objectives and an help.
Kubalik and the Hawks took management early within the matchup, the primary in Edmonton as a part of the NHL’s restart.
He had three assists because the Hawks blitzed the Oilers with 4 objectives within the first 13 minutes of the sport to take a Four-1 lead.
Kubalik then scored twice within the second interval, his first aim chasing starter Mike Smith from the Oilers internet (5 objectives on 23 pictures), and his second getting previous Smith’s alternative, Mikko Koskinen, to make it 6-2.
Three of Edmonton’s objectives got here on the ability play.
Issues seemed good for the Oilers, and their top-ranked energy play, early within the first interval. The Hawks took a penalty and McDavid walked in from the faceoff circle and fired a wrist shot over the suitable shoulder of Hawks goalie Corey Crawford to make it 1-Zero on the 2:34 mark.
Then the wheels got here off for the Oilers.
Smith, infamous as a wandering gambler out of his crease, coughed up the puck behind the web to Dylan Strome, who proceeded to financial institution it in off his pad and into the web at 5:51.
On the following three objectives, Smith bought little or no assist from this teammates, who wilted underneath the Blackhawks’ ferocious forecheck, usually caught standing round or turning over the puck.
At 7:56, Toews, left alone within the slot on the ability play, buried a wrist shot underneath the bar, glove aspect on Smith.
At 9:17, Olli Maatta’s blueline wrist shot was double deflected within the slot to fly over Smith’s pad and in. Brandon Saad bought credit score for the aim.
At 12:57, Kubalik swooped across the internet and dished the puck to an open Toews within the crease, who redirected the puck previous Smith.
The Oilers confirmed some life early within the second interval. They made it Four-2, once more on the ability play, when McDavid, behind the top line, handed the puck to Leon Draisaitl, who one-timed it previous Crawford.
Kubalik rapidly bought that one again, on the ability play, taking a cross-ice cross and capturing from the highest of the faceoff circle to Smith’s left, sniping the puck over his shoulder and into the web. That was it for Smith.
With time winding down within the interval, Kubalik, standing in entrance of the web, deflected Duncan Keith’s blueline slaps scorching to make it 6-2.
The Oilers scored two objectives with lower than 4 minutes to go to make issues attention-grabbing.
Edmonton’s James Neal scored on a goal-mouth scramble and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tipped in Oscar Klefbom’s level shot.
The sport was performed in entrance of tarps, huge video screens, and empty seats at Rogers Place, which is internet hosting the 12 Western Convention groups because the NHL completes the 2019-20 season.
Whereas Edmonton, with a greater regular-season file, was technically the “dwelling staff” the sights and sounds of the sport have been impartial. Aim horns would sound when both staff scored, and there have been revved-up bulletins over the loudspeaker when the Hawks or the Oilers went on the ability play.
Goaltending for the Oilers was a query mark heading into the collection.
Each Smith and Koskinen had put up related numbers working in a platoon within the common season. Smith was 19-12-6 file with a .902 save share. Koskinen was 18-13-Three with a .917 save share.
The actual goaltending query mark was alleged to be Crawford.
The veteran goalie is seen as vital to Chicago’s success, given its defensive struggles this season, however solely started skating once more final week after contracting COVID-19. Crawford was 16-20-Three with a .917 save share within the common season.
Crawford seemed sharp Saturday however didn’t see too many harmful pictures. Chicago outshot Edmonton 42-29.
The Blackhawks, 32-30-Eight within the common season, have been determined underdogs.
They have been trending out of the playoff image and completed 23rd general when regular-season play was suspended. They’re the underside seed among the many 12 groups taking part in within the Western Convention elimination spherical.
The Oilers, with a 37-25-9 file (12th in NHL), have been seen as the favourite, particularly given they’ve the 2 high point-getters this season within the NHL: Draisaitl (110 factors) and McDavid (97 factors).
McDavid was requested after the sport if Edmonton, because the fifth seed within the Western Convention, took bottom-seeded Chicago too calmly.
”(It’s) a staff that has had a lot success prior to now. They’re battle examined they usually got here out and did precisely what we thought they might do, and we simply weren’t prepared,” he mentioned.
Sport 2 on Monday night time.