The Blackhawks looked like a team that turned back the clock to their Stanley Cup days of five years ago during Saturday’s 6-4 win over the Oilers in Game 1 of their best-of-five play-in series in Edmonton.
The Oilers rallied with two goals in the third period, but the Hawks held on to take their postseason opener and the first Western Conference game of the NHL’s return to play from the COVID-19 pause. Edmonton had ground to make up as the Hawks scored four goals in the first period, including three in less than a four-minute span.
Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik, a Calder Trophy finalist, scored two goals and assisted on three others to collect a game-leading five points. He netted both his power-play goals off assists by defenseman Duncan Keith in the second period, capping the scoring for Chicago.
The power play couldn’t have turned out much better for the Hawks, who punched in three of six opportunities — two more than Edmonton’s chances on the man advantage.
The Oilers entered the game with the second-best power-play percentage (29.5), so the Hawks entered the series determined to stay out of penalty kill situations. Game 1 illustrated how important that mission is. Three of the Oilers’ four goals came on the power play.
For the Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews also added two goals, and Brandon Saad and Dylan Strome also scored. Patrick Kane had an empty-netter called back on review because he was offsides.
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