“I just thought we battled harder, that was all,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said after the game. “Working, being harder in battles, winning some 50/50 pucks — you know we didn’t win many in Game 1. So, I thought we did a good job of that. Obviously, we defended better I thought; still gave up some chances but Smitty played well.”
The Flames once again took an early lead. With the Oilers scrambling after Zach Hyman broke his stick, Calgary defenceman Michael Stone ripped a point shot past Edmonton goaltender Mike Smith 3:02 into the game.
Exactly three minutes later, Flames forward Brett Ritchie was alone in front to tap in a rebound. Defenceman Duncan Keith put the Oilers on the board, finishing off a pass from Connor McDavid who had spun free from a check behind the net.
The Oilers took a too-many-men penalty early in the second. Flames forward Tyler Toffoli cashed in on the power play to make it 3-1.
Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl thought he replied just 29 seconds later, but the Flames successfully challenged for goalie interference with McDavid cutting through the crease on the play.
McDavid would get one that counted not long after, taking a pass from Keith, stepping in front and reaching to tuck the puck past Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
With Stone serving a double-minor for high -sticking Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto, defenceman Evan Bouchard powered a shot by Markstrom to tie it 3-3.
Hyman beat Markstrom up high on a shorthanded breakaway to give the Oilers their first lead of the series with 9:46 to go in the third.
“You just gotta keep working, it’s the playoffs,” Hyman said. “All that matters is you get the win and I think we did a good in just battling. We were down two goals there early in the second, off a too many men penalty, and then we just worked.”
Less than three minutes later, Draisaitl scored on his own breakaway chance to make it 5-3 Oilers.
Smith made 37 saves. Keith had a goal and two assists.
“I thought we deserved to win the game tonight based on hard effort alone,” Head Coach Jay Woodcroft said. “I thought we paid the price required to win a game in the second round. Our competition level was excellent. Our execution level coming out of our own end was very good. We found a way to win the special teams battle.”
“We missed a lot of opportunities,” Flames head 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) five-on-five.
Game 3 is Sunday at Rogers Place. You can listen to the game live on 630 CHED beginning with The Faceoff Show at 4 p.m. The actual game starts at 6 p.m.
(With files from The Canadian Press)
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