Oilers' late push not enough to make up for sloppy start in loss to Blackhawks
Edmonton falls behind 4-1 early as 3-game winning streak comes to end
Alex DeBrincat scored two goals, rookie Adam Boqvist had two assists, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 on Thursday night.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Blackhawks, who climbed within four points of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews also scored for Chicago. Corey Crawford made 20 saves.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Josh Archibald and Kailer Yamamoto had goals for Edmonton, which had its three-game winning streak ended. The Oilers remained two points behind Pacific Division leader Vegas. Leon Draisaitl had two assists, pushing his league-leading points total to 110.
DeBrincat got his second two-goal game in the last seven with his scores in the second period, the second of which made it 4-1.
WATCH | DeBrincat scores pair as Blackhawks hold off Oilers:
"I was trying to get in that slot," DeBrincat said. "Sometimes I don't really go to that area. Today, it was open."
It also prompted Edmonton coach Dave Tippett to pull goaltender Mike Smith in favour of Mikko Koskinen. Smith allowed four goals on 21 shots, while Koskinen made 10 saves.
"This wasn't on Mike Smith, it was on the players in front of him," Tippett said. "Too big a hole. We need to recognize what we did at the start of the game."
DeBrincat had given the Blackhawks a three-goal lead 4:59 into the second with a 50-foot shot that Smith never saw, thanks to an inadvertent screen by defenceman Matt Benning.
Kane found an opening on the short left wing and rifled the puck over a sprawled Smith for his 30th goal of the season with 5:26 left in the first.
"If I finish strong and do my part, we might have a good chance to get in [the playoffs]," Kane said. "At some point, we're going to have to go on some type of run."
'They're playing for contracts'
Chicago took a 2-0 lead on Toews' wraparound score 47 seconds into the second. Boqvist, who entered the game with only seven assists in 39 games, earned the first of his two assists with a crisp feed to Toews.
"The first two periods were excellent for the most part," Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said. "I was proud of how we finished the game off. We found a way to close the game in regulation."
The Oilers rallied in the third period with a pair of goals in 49 seconds. Archibald and Yamamoto beat Crawford from the right slot, with Yamamoto's goal — which trimmed Chicago's lead to a goal — needing confirmation from NHL replay officials.
"If you want to be a playoff team, we have to beat these teams," Draisaitl said. "They're playing for contracts."