Hawks rally for furious 4-3 comeback to take 2-1 series lead over Oilers
Well, it wasn't 2 goals in 17 seconds.
But the late 2 goals by Matthew Highmore and Jonathan Toews in just 4.5 minutes late in Game 3 Wednesday against the Oilers sent the biggest shock waves across Chicago since Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland stunned Boston in the Stanley Cup Final seven years ago.
Highmore scored on a redirect off a Slater Koekkoek blast from the point with 5:48 remaining to tie the game at 3-3, and Toews notched the game-winner with just 1:16 on the clock to give the Hawks a 4-3 victory and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
"We showed a lot of character to stick with it," said coach Jeremy Colliton. "We were pretty solid defensively, did a good job eliminating their transition, and we found a way to score some dirty goals. A lot of people going to the net, getting traffic. Proud of how the guys worked."
Corey Crawford stopped 25 shots and recorded his 50th postseason victory. Kirby Dach (1 assist) became the first Hawks rookie to record at least a point in his first three playoff games since Eddie Olczyk scored in five straight in 1985.
Game 4 is Friday at 5:45 p.m.
The Hawks figured to be the team facing elimination Friday as they failed on 5 of 6 power-play attempts, watched 5 shot attempts draw iron and were getting next to nothing out of Patrick Kane (2 SOG) and Dominik Kubalik (1 SOG).
The Oilers took a 3-2 lead after getting second-period goals by Leon Draisaitl at 4:07 and Connor McDavid at 19:52. McDavid's tally came on the power play and was his fifth of the series.
Highmore, whose costly turnover led directly to the Oilers' second goal, emerged as an unlikely hero when his deflection sailed past Mikko Koskinen.
Then -- just as the game appeared headed to overtime -- the Hawks won an offensive zone faceoff, cycled the puck to Connor Murphy and were suddenly leading after Murphy's seemingly harmless floater hit Ethan Bear's stick and deflected off Toews into the net.
"A one-goal lead is a tough lead to hang onto for that long," said Toews, who also scored late in the first period. "In that situation, we can always simplify our game and put pucks down in their zone where they don't want to play. Eventually things develop with our work ethic. ...
"We stuck with it. It was a great team effort. Some great contributions from all over our lineup."
And especially from Koekkoek and Olli Maatta, the Hawks' third defensive pair.
Maatta opened the scoring when his blast from the point found its way through a maze of players at 9:14. Maatta, who also scored in Game 2, had just 2 goals in his first 70 postseason appearances.
Koekkoek, meanwhile, assisted on Highmore's goal and also scored in Game 2.
"Our forwards do a great job holding onto the puck," Maatta said. "That makes (the Oilers) collapse a little bit. They do a good job of giving us the puck with a little more time."
Eight of the Hawks' 25 shots on goal came from defensemen.
"It hasn't been only me and Kooks," said Maatta, who went on to praise Murphy, Calvin de Haan, Duncan Keith and Adam Boqvist. "They're getting pucks through and it feels like every time we get it to the net our forwards are in good position, battling for them, getting rebounds, getting tips. It makes it tough for them."
Which is exactly what Game 4 figures to be.
"We've had some experience in the past knowing how to play, knowing how prepare for those big games," said Toews, who has 44 playoff goals and needs one more to tie Steve Larmer for fifth all-time in Hawks annals. "It's having that killer instinct but knowing that every game in this series has gotten tougher.
"It's going to be the toughest game coming up. Their best players played well and capitalized for them, but we can expect a much better team game and for them to improve as we go along."