But the hockey gods have long memories.
In the end, a game the Oilers led 3-2 with six minutes to go turned into a regulation 4-3 loss, as two pucks deflected – one by Matthew Highmore of the Chicago Blackhawks and the winner by Ethan Bear of Edmonton – found some string behind Mikko Koskinen.
They belatedly gave the winner to Jonathan Toews. Still, it was the kind of fluky rebound that could go both ways and against the Oilers that night.
“You tempt fate when you take penalties, especially when your penalty killers (Josh Archibald and Kailer Yamamoto) take them,” said head coach Dave Tippett, who saw these two players take two minors each in first. half-time. “Deflections, sometimes they go far or hit the goalkeeper. This time they have found their way.
That was the definition of victory ripped from the jaws of defeat for Chicago. For the Oilers, they now have to win games on Friday and Saturday, or watch the rest of the National Hockey League playoffs unfold in Edmonton with the Oilers outside the bubble.
“We all know the situation we’re in here right now,” said Leon Draisaitl, who had scored two goals. “We have to prepare for a back to back. Everything you need to win two games in a row. ”
In Game 1 of this series, the Blackhawks played well, while Edmonton did not. In Game 2, the roles have been reversed.
In Game 3, neither team played well, with the Blackhawks going one on six on the power play and scoring two pretty lucky goals on the night, both awarded to Toews. Edmonton tempted fate with unruly and poorly executed play – especially when it came to streaking. Maybe the Blackhawks’ forward failure deserves the credit, but in the end it was an unsuccessful attempt to take out a puck that set up Connor Murphy’s point shot, which took off Bear’s stick. , then Toews for the winner of the game with 1:16 remaining.
“We didn’t get the start we wanted but got back into the first half after we got one,” said Connor McDavid, who also scored. “Then too many penalties. Umpires call a lot of things, we know that. We need to be more disciplined. ”
Still, Edmonton led by a goal with six minutes remaining and never gave up a chance to score an A rating on either of the Hawks’ two late goals.
“The penalty kill did a great job of keeping us in the game,” McDavid said. “We came back to the game, in control of the game. Then two shots from the point ended up in the net.
This morning, the two No.12 seeds – Montreal and Chicago – both hold a 2-1 lead over No.5 seeds Pittsburgh and Edmonton, setting up a scenario that could see the Penguins and Oilers vying for the presumed No. 5. 1 pick in the draft Alexis Lafreniere.
How apoplectic would the hockey world be if Lafrenière lined up on McDavid’s wing next season? Or Sidney Crosby?
Well, that’s a hot topic for another day.
This morning in Edmonton, they’ll be talking about Wednesday’s heartbreaking loss again as the Oilers failed to even get the game to go to OT.
“I don’t know if heartbreak is the word,” defenseman Darnell Nurse said. “It’s a long series. There are still two games to go.
“We fought, we got in position for a game that we could have won,” he continued. “Some rebounds come in, some bounce the other way. We just have to respond. “
The Oilers likely lost Draisaitl’s left winger Tyler Ennis when he limped without putting weight on his right leg after a big kick from Kirby Dach. The Oilers wanted a penalty on the play, but it appears Ennis turned his back on Dach just before the hit. Somehow he grabbed her knee awkwardly, it seemed.
The loss of Ennis caused Tippett to juggle his attackers somewhat, but the effect on the pace of the lines was minimal compared to all the penalties taken by his team.
“That’s exactly what I told our team after the second period,” said Tippett. “You isolate a lot of people and your criminals have a lot of work and then you try to get other people involved after a sentence is over. It is not ideal. I looked at all the penalties. I thought some were good, others I thought were bad penalties.
Adam Larsson was deemed unfit to play ahead of the game. Kris Russell, who has been one of Edmonton’s best defensemen in this series, stepped in to play alongside Oscar Klefbom, while Caleb Jones saw the action on the third pair.
It’s do or die now for the Oilers. A pretty good season suddenly about to end, even before the real playoffs start.