Edmonton takes a 2-1 series lead.
The Oilers outshot the Flames 21-7 in the first period but neither team got on the scoreboard.
“When our best players are leading the way defensively and setting the tone for what’s expected for the full 200-feet of the rink, I think it makes us a better team,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said.
The Oilers kept the pressure on in the second and needed just 52 seconds to breakthrough. Zach Hyman beat Jacob Markstrom’s blocker side for his fourth of the series. Evander Kane scored two goals 53 seconds apart, first converting a pass from Leon Draisaitl, then finishing off a feed from Connor McDavid.
Halfway through the second, Mike Smith stopped Johnny Gaudreau on a breakaway then made a glove snare on Matthew Tkachuk’s poke at the rebound. Kane would complete the hat trick not long after, swooping in front and beating Markstrom with a backhand.
“He’s a hockey player with really good habits. I didn’t know that about him, but there’s a reason why he finds success on the ice,” Woodcroft said of Kane.
Milan Lucic sparked a heated scrum when he shoved Mike Smith into the end boards as Smith was beside the net to play the puck. Lucic was slapped with a five-minute major for charging and game misconduct.
“I don’t really know what happened, to be honest. I’m out playing the puck and all of a sudden I’m getting buried into the boards,” Smith said.
“When you’re getting run through the end wall and you’re not expecting it, it’s not an ideal situation. It’s the playoffs and they’re trying to rattle you.”
“It was obviously a play out of frustration — running our goalie,” Kane added. “The refs made the right call.”
Smith was ordered to leave the game under the NHL’s concussion protocol. Smith returned after being replaced by Mikko Koskinen for 4:15. Koskinen did not face a shot on goal.
“It’s not an ideal situation to leave the game in the third period with 11 minutes left, but I get the reason for it,” Smith said, referring to the NHL’s concussion protocol.
“I don’t believe in airing complaints about officiating in the media,” Woodcroft added on the decision.
Oliver Kylington scored for the Flames with 4:51 remaining.
Kane — who also had a hat trick in game three against Los Angeles — becomes the first Oiler to have multiple hat tricks in the same playoff season since Jari Kurri had four in 1985.
“When your best players are playing the best hockey of their careers in the playoffs, you have a really good chance to win, and both (McDavid and Draisaitl) have done that,” Smith said.
Draisaitl had four assists in the second to equal the NHL record for most points in a playoff period.
Dan Vladar replaced Markstrom in the Flames net for the third period.
“We lose the second period 4-0,’”Calgary defenceman Rasmus Andersson said. “We let one guy (McDavid) dominate.”
“We’ve let one guy beat us a few nights now,” Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk said of McDavid’s mastery.
“Back to the drawing board and figure out a way to stop him.”
The Oilers are looking to keep the momentum from Sunday night going in Game 4.
“We learned a valuable lesson last series when we got up 2-1. We probably played our worst game in Game 4,” Smith said. “We want to learn a lesson and not let that happen again and keep doing what we were doing in this game tonight.”
Game 4 is Tuesday at Rogers Place (630 CHED’s Face-off Show begins at 5:30 p.m., the game starts at 7:30 p.m.).
— With files from Brenden Escott, 630 CHED and The Canadian Press
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