DeBrincat scores in OT as Blackhawks beat Keith, Oilers 4-3
CHICAGO (AP) — Long after the tribute videos for Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson were rolled out, another familiar combination lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to the win.
Alex DeBrincat got a pass from Patrick Kane and scored 2:23 into overtime, and the Blackhawks beat Keith and the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 on Thursday night.
Kane, Dominik Kubalik and Sam Lafferty also scored for Chicago, which went 2-1-0 against Edmonton this season. Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves.
With Edmonton star Leon Draisaitl in the penalty box for tripping Caleb Jones in overtime, Kane set up DeBrincat for the winning one-timer. It was DeBrincat’s 30th goal of the season.
The game was tied at 2 when Kubalik made the most of a mistake by Mikko Koskinen. The veteran goaltender played the puck from behind the Edmonton net right to Kubalik, who fired it in 2:49 into the third period.
It was Kubalik’s first goal since Jan. 26 and No. 11 on the season.
“That was big. It was good for him, too,” interim Blackhawks coach Derek King said. “He’s been working hard. A little snake-bitten.”
Chicago carried the lead all the way to the final minute, but Edmonton tied it when Evander Kane played the puck toward the middle and it appeared to go off the stick of Chicago defenseman Seth Jones and into the net.
“It was great to tie it, to force overtime and give us a chance to win,” Evander Kane said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Evander Kane scored twice for Edmonton, which closed out a 2-2-1 road trip. Draisaitl had a goal and an assist, and Koskinen made 28 stops.
“We found a way to get a point out of a tough game here,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said.
It was Keith’s first game back in Chicago since he was traded to Edmonton in July. The 38-year-old defenseman won three Stanley Cup titles during 16 seasons with the Blackhawks.
Keith heard loud cheers when he was introduced with Edmonton’s starting lineup, and then a long, sustained standing ovation after Chicago welcomed him back with a highlight video in the first period.
He acknowledged the warm response with a wave from the visiting bench, and then took a quick skate on the ice and raised his stick in the air when the cheers persisted.
“Just another old friend that I love talking to about everything, including the game,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said.
“A little bit strange to see a guy like him who was just a pillar of this team and a Hall of Famer and just the career that he had, coming into the United Center playing for a different team.”
Keith’s return coincided with the Blackhawks paying tribute to Hjalmarsson, another key defenseman from the team’s run of three championships in six seasons. Hjalmarsson was traded to Arizona in June 2017 and retired in July.
Hjalmarsson was saluted with a pregame highlight video, leading to another standing ovation from the crowd.
The Blackhawks had dropped four of five. But they were bolstered by the return of Toews (concussion protocol), fellow forward Tyler Johnson (neck surgery) and defensemen Calvin de Haan (right groin strain) and Riley Stillman (left shoulder) from injuries.
Lafferty put Chicago in front when he beat Koskinen through the goaltender’s legs at 2:34. But Edmonton responded when Connor McDavid set up Draisaitl on the power play for his NHL-high 38th goal at 14:35.
The teams then exchanged goals one more time in the first. Patrick Kane got a pass from Dylan Strome and converted a one-timer from the right circle, but Draisaitl found a streaking Evander Kane for the tying goal for Edmonton with 26 seconds left.
De Haan had a chance to get the lead back for Chicago in the second, but he sent a shot off a post about 13 minutes into the period.
Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was placed on injured reserve. Nugent-Hopkins left in the first period of Saturday’s 4-3 win at Florida because of an upper-body injury. He flew back to Edmonton earlier this week.
Fellow forward Kyle Turris was activated from IR. He made his first appearance since Jan. 22.
Oilers: Defenseman Tyson Barrie left with an upper-body injury.
Blackhawks: King said he thinks forward Reese Johnson will be cleared for full contact next week. Johnson was placed on IR on Dec. 12 with a fractured right clavicle.
Oilers: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
Blackhawks: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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