Oilers rally past Flames 5-3 in Game 2 to even series
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — The Edmonton Oilers got off to another slow start. This time, they bounced back quickly.
Zach Hyman scored the go-ahead short-handed goal midway through the third period and the Oilers rallied to beat the Calgary Flames 5-3 on Friday night, evening the second-round series at one game apiece.
Edmonton captain Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist, becoming the fastest active player to reach 20 points (six goals, 14 assists in nine games) in a single postseason, and fastest among any player since Mario Lemieux in 1992.
“He’s willing to pay a price to win. He’s driven to win,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. “He has an effect on everybody in our organization with that desire to take his game to the next level. ... The way his guy is playing right now, it’s special. He’s driving our team forward.”
Leon Draisaitl and defenseman Duncan Keith each had a goal and two assists and Evan Bouchard also scored for Edmonton, which lost 9-6 in Game 1 and trailed 3-1 early in the second of this one.
“Losses are no fun and wins are lots of fun,” McDavid said. “I thought we battled harder. ... Winning some 50-50 pucks. We didn’t win many in Game 1. I thought we did a good job of that. I thought we defended better. Still gave up some chances.”
Oilers goalie Mike Smith, pulled early in the last game, made 37 saves for the win and assisted on Draisaitl’s insurance goal.
Michael Stone, Brett Ritchie and Tyler Toffoli scored for Calgary. Johnny Gaudreau had two assists and Jacob Markstrom stopped 35 shots.
The best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal heads to Edmonton’s Rogers Place for Game 3 on Sunday. The Oilers went 18-4-2 at home over their final 24 games of the regular season.
One of the NHL’s top teams 5-on-5, the Flames were short-handed for almost 11 minutes. Edmonton scored its first power-play goal of the series midway through the second period to send the game into the third deadlocked 3-3.
“We missed a lot of opportunities,” Flames coach Darryl Sutter said. “Markstrom was really, really good for us. Individual skill was what stood out tonight, and situations that they scored on. That’s hard to handle, but some of that is also not (playing) 5-on-5.
“There was a 4-on-4 goal, a 5-on-5 goal, a 5-on-4 goal for us, short-handed goal for them. If you’re not playing 5-on-5, that’s definitely to their team’s advantage.”
Hyman turned Calgary’s offensive-zone turnover into a breakaway. He scored the short-handed, tiebreaking goal going upstairs on Markstrom at 10:14 of the third.
“You’ve just got to keep working,” Hyman said. “It’s the playoffs. Doesn’t matter. All that matters is you get the win, right?”
Smith passed the puck to Draisaitl for another breakaway just over two minutes later. The forward, who is playing through a lower-body injury, put the puck off the post and in on Markstrom’s stick side at 12:36.
With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins penalized for slashing at 16:48, the Flames couldn’t convert a power play into a goal. Calgary went 1 for 5 with a man advantage, while the Oilers were 1 for 6.
Two broken Oilers sticks contributed to a pair of Flames goals in the first two periods.
Defenseman Darnell Nurse was hampered down low without his in the second period and didn’t manage an exchange with a forward. Gaudreau threaded a pass to the front of the crease for Elias Lindholm to flip to Toffoli, who scored a power-play goal at 2:04 for a 3-1 Calgary lead.
Draisaitl’s goal at 2:31 of the second was waived off as Sutter successfully challenged for goaltender interference by McDavid.
However, McDavid struck seconds later to draw Edmonton within one at 3:05.
Bouchard pulled the Oilers even at 15:03 during Stone’s double minor for high-sticking, firing a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle upstairs on Markstrom.
After setting the record for the fastest two goals to start a playoff game in the series opener with a pair within 51 seconds, Calgary struck early again, 63 seconds after puck drop. Hyman broke his stick and wasn’t able to retrieve another from the bench before Stone’s slapshot from the point beat Smith bottom corner glove side.
The Flames made it 2-0 at 6:02 when Ritichie pounced on a loose puck in the crease and put a backhand by Smith.
Keith halved the deficit with 6:15 left in the first when McDavid shoveled a one-handed pass to Keith, who beat Markstrom far side.
Hyman celebrated an Oilers goal with just over four minutes left in the opening period, but officials waived it off. The whistle blew before the puck crossed the goal line in a crease scramble.
NO TANEV AGAIN
The Flames were missing top shutdown defenseman Chris Tanev for a third straight game. He was injured in Game 6 of Calgary’s first-round series against Dallas. Tanev skated in practice this week, but hasn’t dressed for games.
NOTES: Gaudreau extended his playoff point streak to seven consecutive games (two goals, 10 assists) and tied Lanny McDonald (1984) for the fifth-longest in Flames history. ... McDavid stretched his playoff multi-point streak to five straight games. The only other players in NHL history with a run of five or more multi-point games were Wayne Gretzky (1983), Tony Currie (1981), Darryl Sittler (1977), Evgeni Malkin (2009) and Dale Hawerchuk (1993).
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