The Chicago Black Hawks, humiliated by the defending champion Edmonton Oilers in the first two games of the semifinal playoff series, have fought back to tie it at 2-2.
It was the Black Hawks’ turn to do the humiliating Sunday night. After spotting Wayne Gretzky a goal soon after the opening faceoff, the Black Hawks stormed back for five first-period goals and went on to score an 8-6 victory in front of 17,794 fans at Chicago. The Oilers scored twice in the closing minutes to make it look close.
The Black Hawks were beaten, 11-2, in the opener, improved only to a 7-3 defeat in the second and most hockey people thought it would be a four-game sweep. Even when the Hawks won, 5-2, Thursday night they were not given much chance of making it an interesting series.
In Game 4, the Black Hawks, a team that turned around after General Manager Bob Pulford replaced Orval Tessier as coach in midseason, completely dominated the Oilers.
Troy Murray, for the second game in a row, shadowed Gretzky so closely that he was seldom a factor. Meanwhile, the Black Hawks, taking advantage of a poor job of goaltending by All-Star Grant Fuhr, kept putting the puck into the net every time the Oilers threatened to make a game out of it.
Steve Larmer and Denis Savard led a devastating attack. Larmer had two goals and an assist and Savard had a goal and two assists.
Goalie Murray Bannerman of the Hawks, who had lost nine games in a row to the Oilers before winning Game 3 of the best-of-seven series, was invincible for the next 30 minutes after seeing his lead cut to 5-4.
He made spectacular saves to thwart Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, Mark Messier and, eventually, the Oilers.
The teams will switch to Edmonton for the fifth game Tuesday night. The Black Hawks have to believe they have a chance for an upset.
Quebec 5, Philadelphia 3--It took a little-known defensive specialist to do it, but the Flyers finally lost a home game and the Nordiques have evened the semifinal playoff series at 2-2.
Left wing Alain Cote scored two goals, including the game-winner at 4:32 of the third period and the Flyers’ string off 21 consecutive unbeaten games at the Spectrum ended. The Flyers had not lost at home since Feb. 2.
Until he started to play better offense in the playoffs, Cote had been known for stellar defensive play. He was the key man on the penalty-killing unit and always on the ice in the closing minutes when the Nordiques were trying to protect a one-goal lead.
In six NHL seasons he has averaged 12 goals. In 33 playoff games prior to this season he had one goal. Already, in 16 postseason games this season he has five goals.
“I don’t remember the last time I had a two-goal game,” Cote said. “I just happened to be at the right place each time. I’m still a defensive specialist.”