DeBrincat scores twice for Blackhawks in win against Oilers
Chicago climbs in wild-card race; Edmonton fails to gain in Pacific Divisionby Brandon Cain / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
CHICAGO -- Alex DeBrincat scored two goals, and the Chicago Blackhawks held on for their fourth straight win, 4-3 against the Edmonton Oilers at United Center on Thursday.
Adam Boqvist had two assists for the second straight game for Chicago (31-28-8), which has won three straight at home. Corey Crawford made 21 saves in his seventh straight start.
Chicago moved within four points of the Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
"Big win for the team," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. "First two periods were excellent, for the most part, and they had a push there in the third. [I] thought we fed their push a little bit, obviously a couple turnovers and they ended up in the back of our net, which they gained some life from.
"But I was proud of how we finished the game off. We gritted it out. Big two points and found a way to close the game in regulation, and [it was] good to see that."
[WATCH: All Oilers vs. Blackhawks highlights]
Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse each had two assists for the Oilers (36-24-8), who had won three straight and remain two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the Pacific Division lead.
Mike Smith allowed four goals on 21 shots and was pulled 12:49 into the second period. Mikko Koskinen made 10 saves in relief.
"We didn't play well enough in the first two periods and pressed a little bit in the third," Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. "We dug too big of a hole in the first two periods."
DeBrincat's wrist shot from the top of the right circle increased Chicago's lead to 3-0 at 4:59 of the second period.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins cut it to 3-1 on a rebound at 5:59, but DeBrincat skated to the top of the left circle and snapped a shot past a screened Smith to make it 4-1 at 13:02.
"I know that first one wasn't the greatest but bound to go in sooner or later," DeBrincat said. "Feels good to get those and hopefully I can keep rolling and keep getting some wins."
Video: EDM@CHI: DeBrincat snaps home second goal
Zack Kassian sent a pass across the slot between the legs of Blackhawks defenseman Olli Maatta to Josh Archibald, who tapped it into an open net to cut Chicago's lead to 4-2 at 8:03 of the third period.
Kailer Yamamoto scored 49 seconds later, at 8:52, from the lower right circle for the 4-3 final.
"We're not going to win too many games like that. The first couple of periods, if not for Smitty, we're probably down half a dozen," Kassian said. "We just have to regroup. There are going to be highs and lows and we have to stay even keel. If we play the way we did in the third we're giving ourselves a chance to win every night.
"If we play the way we did in the first and second we're not going to win many games."
Patrick Kane dragged the puck across the slot before lifting a wrist shot top shelf for his 30th goal of the season to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 14:34 of the first period.
"It's a good number," Kane said of scoring 30 goals for the fifth time in the NHL. "Obviously throughout the season you start thinking about those numbers, whether it's 20 or 30, and obviously want to get even more than that."
Jonathan Toews made it 2-0 with a wraparound 47 seconds into the second period.
Video: EDM@CHI: Kane picks top corner for opening goal
They said it
"We know we have to play harder. We can recognize it in a game like that after the second period. That's got to come from within a little bit and there's some things we can do to improve that, and we'll look to do that Saturday [against the Columbus Blue Jackets]." -- Oilers coach Dave Tippett
"There are moments at the beginning of the year when I wasn't making key saves in a game and it was [turning] into a lot of losses. I think everyone overall is just playing better defense. Our forwards are really helping out and our D have been great over this last run from the All-Star break." -- Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford
Video: EDM@CHI: Toews scores on wraparound
Need to know
Oilers forward Andreas Athanasiou played his 300th NHL game. … Oilers center Leon Draisaitl has 11 points (six goals, five assists) during a four-game point streak. … Nugent-Hopkins has nine points (three goals, six assists) during a four-game point streak. … The Blackhawks have killed 13 straight penalties in their past four games. … Chicago rookie defenseman Lucas Carlsson left at 11:40 of the second period when Kris Russell's shot hit him in the head. Colliton said Carlsson will likely travel Friday to Detroit so they can keep evaluating him. … Colliton said he'd consider playing Crawford on Friday.
Oilers: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN, SN360, SN1, CITY, FS-O, NHL.TV)
Blackhawks: At the Detroit Red Wings on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-D, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)