EDMONTON, Alberta – Rookie winger Dominik Kubalik scored two goals and added three assists, leading the Chicago Blackhawks to a 6-4 win over the host Edmonton Oilers in the opener of their best-of-five qualifying round series on Saturday.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews had two goals and one assist. Brandon Saad added a goal and an assist and Dylan Strome also scored for Chicago.
Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and two assists for Edmonton. And James Neal scored late for the Oilers, who trailed 6-2 after two periods.
McDavid said the Oilers first need to review the game tape and go from there after dropping the series opener.
“There's lots that needs to get done,” McDavid said.
“It wasn't good from the start ... I thought we did a better job as the game went on of keeping it simple. That's what our team needs to do ultimately is be simpler.”
Kubalik's five-point game was a continuation of the torrid scoring pace set by the 24-year-old Czech forward and a Calder Trophy finalist as the league's rookie of the year.
He had 30 goals and 16 assists before regular-season play was halted in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We got scored on in the first couple of minutes but I we came back pretty quick,” Kubalik said. “I felt really good, everything went my way, so obviously it's nice but it's just the first game. We've got to keep going.”
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford is seen as critical to Chicago's success, given its defensive struggles this season, but only began skating again last week after contracting COVID-19. Crawford was 16-20-3 with a .917 save percentage in the regular season.
Chicago outshot Edmonton 42-29. Crawford finished with 25 saves.
ISLANDERS 2, PANTHERS 1: In Toronto, Semyon Varlamov stopped 27 shots and New York opened the series with a victory over Florida.
Anthony Beauvillier scored on a power play at 3:39 of the second period. The goal came a little over a minute after Florida's Mike Matheson was penalized for a hit to the head on defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who did not return.
Islanders trade deadline addition Jean-Gabriel Pageau opened the scoring redirecting in Derick Brassard's centering pass 12 minutes into the game. Jonathan Huberdeau scored 23 seconds into the third for Florida.
HURRICANES 3, RANGERS 2: Sebastian Aho had a goal and an assist in Carolina's opening victory over New York.
Jaccob Slavin scored 1:01 seconds in on Carolina's first shot on goal.
Martin Necas also scored and Petr Mrazek stopped 24 shots. Mika Zibanejad and Marc Staal scored for the Rangers.