CALGARY, Alberta – Zach Hyman scored the go-ahead short-handed goal midway through the third period and the Edmonton 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.
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.
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 Sunday’s Game 3 and Tuesday’s Game 4. The Oilers went 18-4-2 at home over their final 24 games of the regular season.
The Alberta rivals are squaring off in the playoffs for a sixth time, but the first since 1991.
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.
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.
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. Flames head coach Darryl Sutter successfully challenged goaltender interference by McDavid.
However, McDavid struck seconds later to draw Edmonton within a goal. He rolled off Calgary defenseman Nikita Zadorov into open ice, took a pass from Keith and stickhandled the puck by Markstrom’s outstretched pad at 3:05.
Bouchard pulled the Oilers even at 15:03 during Stone’s double minor for high-sticking. The defenseman wired 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 Smith bobbled a shot by Erik Gudbranson. Ritichie pounced on the loose puck in the crease and put a backhand by the Oilers’ goalie.
Keith halved the deficit with 6:15 left in the first. McDavid circling out from behind the net, held off Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson with one arm, and held the puck on his stick with the other. 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.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism