Oilers Win 5-3, Push Flames To The Brink Of Elimination

Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund, right, celebrates his goal with teammates as Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith gets up from the ice during the second period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs second-round series Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund, right, celebrates his goal with teammates as Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith gets up from the ice during the second period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs second-round series Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
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EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his second goal of the game with 3:27 left in regulation, and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Calgary Flames 5-3 on Tuesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the second-round playoff series.

Evander Kane scored his NHL-leading 11th and 12th goals of the postseason, and Zach Hyman added a goal for Edmonton. Leon Draisaitl added three assists and Mike Smith made 29 saves.

Connor McDavid also had two assists. He has 25 points in 11 playoff games for the Oilers, who earned a third straight victory over their provincial rival.

Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund scored for Calgary, and Rasmus Andersson added a short-handed goal from his own end in the third period to tie the game at 3. Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots.

Calgary will look to stave off elimination on Thursday at home in Game 5.

After trailing 3-0 after the first period and 3-2 through two periods, Calgary tied the game in the third on an Edmonton power play when Andersson fired a 150-foot clearing attempt from his own end that somehow fooled Smith at 10:56.

With the Oilers wobbling, Nugent-Hopkins poked in his fourth goal of the playoffs from in front of Markstrom.

Andersson then took a four-minute penalty for high-sticking with 2:40 left to effectively kill off the game before Kane iced it by scoring into an empty net.

Edmonton also held a 2-1 series lead in the first round against the Los Angeles Kings only to play what the Oilers described as their worst performance of the month in a 4-0 loss. This time, they took a stranglehold on the series without their best effort.

Markstrom, who had allowed 14 goals in the series before getting pulled after two periods with Calgary trailing Sunday’s Game 3 by a 4-0 score, played the puck behind his own net on the first shift, but put it right on Nugent-Hopkins’ stick. He scored his third.

The goal was the third-fastest in Oilers’ playoff history, just short of McDavid (19 seconds in 2020) and Fernando Pisani (16 seconds in 2006).

One of three finalists for the Vézina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie, Markstrom recovered to deny Darnell Nurse on a chance a couple minutes later before Smith was at full stretch on a Johnny Gaudreau one-time chance.

Calgary winger Tyler Toffoli then took a tripping penalty and the Oilers made the Flames pay when Hyman outmuscled a hobbled Chris Tanev — back in the lineup for the first time since Game 6 of the opening round despite a suspected upper-body injury — in tight, scoring his fifth goal of the series and seventh of the playoffs at 9:53.

The Flames, who topped the Pacific Division in the regular season, pushed back with a couple of decent shifts, but Kane, who was coming off a natural hat trick in Game 3, made it 3-0 with 66 seconds remaining in the period on a shot that nicked blueliner Nikita Zadorov.

Calgary showed some life on slick power play in the second with Kane off for slashing. Lindholm eventually picked the top corner for his fifth goal at 9:04 after the Oilers twice failed to clear the defensive zone.

Backlund got the Flames within one at 3-2 just 36 seconds later when he stepped past Duncan Keith and fired his fourth past Smith.

Smith made a good stop on a Lindholm power-play chance early in the third before Edmonton got its second man-advantage with 11 minutes left in regulation.

Markstrom kept his team within striking distance with a terrific pad stop on Draisaitl, who became the first player in NHL history to register three-plus points in four straight playoff games with an assist on the Oilers’ empty-net goal.

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