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EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Matthew Highmore tied the score with 5:47 left in the third period, and Jonathan Toews got his second of the game 4 1/2 minutes later to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 of their qualifying round series Wednesday night.

“We stuck with it and I think it was a great team effort,” Toews said.

On the winner, Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear errantly tipped a Chicago point shot off Toews and past goalie Mikko Koskinen. It was Toews’ fourth goal of the series.

Olli Maatta also scored for the Blackhawks, who trailed by a goal entering the third period. Corey Crawford finished with 25 saves.

“(There were) some great contributions from all over our lineup,” Toews added. “A one-goal lead is a tough lead to hang onto for that long. In that situation we can always simplify our game and put pucks down in their zone … and eventually things develop.”

Leon Draisaitl scored twice for Edmonton, and Connor McDavid got his fifth of the series to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead with 8 seconds left in the second period. Koskinen had 21 saves as Edmonton was pushed to the brink of elimination in the best-of-five series.

“It’s obviously disappointing, no question,” Draisaitl said. “I think we have to be a little more disciplined. It kills the flow of the game with the penalties. … We’ve got to make sure we win the next two.”

The Oilers had to play without Adam Larsson, their first-pairing shutdown defenceman. Larsson was declared unfit to play prior to puck drop. Teams are not permitted to divulge details on injuries or whether individual players have tested positive for COVID-19.

The score was tied three times and neither team led by more than one goal.

Maatta got the Blackhawks on the board first at 9:14 of the opening period with a slap shot from the blue line through traffic past a screened Koskinen.

Draisaitl responded 28 seconds later., converting one-timer off a pass from Tyler Ennis through the crease.

Edmonton got into penalty trouble late in the first and Chicago made the Oilers pay. On a 5-on-3 advantage, Kirby Dach centred the puck into a scrum of bodies in the crease. The puck bounced off Toews’ skate and in with 5 seconds left in the period.

The Oilers tied it at 4:07 of the second. Catching the Blackhawks running around in their own end, Oilers defenseman Matt Benning stepped into a blue-line slap shot that bounced off Crawford’s pad to Draisaitl, who knocked in the the rebound.

McDavid gave Edmonton a 3-2 lead on the power play late int he period. Draisaitl shot the puck from the right half boards. Crawford stopped it with his pad, but McDavid scooped up the rebound.

Highore tied it as he tipped Slater Koekkoek’s slap shot over Koskinen’s shoulder.

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News Source: cbslocal.com

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Montana presses to finish census, eyeing 2nd House seat

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A complete count of Montana’s households could come with a big reward — a second seat in Congress and millions of federal dollars annually. But the 2020 census deadline remains in flux, making it uncertain if census takers will finish counting the vast, rural state.

Projections show that Montana would gain another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives after the census, but a study published earlier this month found that a shortened deadline for collecting data could cost the state the rewards. The findings gained urgency Monday when the Census Bureau pulled forward the deadline to Oct. 5.

The study, published by the American Statistical Association, found that under the Sept. 30 deadline, both Montana and Florida could lose seats in the U.S. House that they would have taken from California and Ohio were the deadline extended through October.

With over 1 million people, Montana’s congressional district is the nation’s most populous. Experts say a second House seat is a prize the state can scarcely afford to lose.

The situation is even more urgent for the state’s eight Native American tribes, which rely on an accurate census count for federal aid worth millions of dollars. Without an extended deadline, their tribal lands are poised for a historic undercount.

A judge gave Montana some hope when she issued a preliminary injunction on Sept. 25 to prevent the Trump administration from winding down census operations on Sept. 30. The last-minute ruling came after it emerged that top census officials believed a shortened deadline could hinder a full count.

But the ruling’s meaning remains unclear. On Monday, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce announced in a tweet that census takers would stop knocking on doors and questionnaires would be due Oct. 5, despite the ruling.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has appealed.

Kendra Miller with Montana’s Districting and Apportionment Commission said the uncertainty around the deadline has been “quite a rollercoaster” and she hopes Congress will extend it.

She said the census operations, hampered by the pandemic, have been “like a train heading for a crash.”

Recent Census Bureau data shows that less than 95% of Montana households have been counted, with just Louisiana and Alabama tallying less. In more than 30 states, over 98% of households have been counted.

“We continue to watch all these other states move closer and closer to complete enumeration, and we simply can’t get there on time,” Miller said.

Former Montana Rep. Pat Williams, in the U.S. House from 1979 to 1997, called a second congressional seat “essential.”

With House members limited to sitting on two committees, another for Montana could double the state’s impact in promoting legislation important to Montana, Williams said.

When Williams was first elected to the House, the state had two representatives. After the 1990 census, the state lost its second seat. Montana’s lone representative has typically served on the agriculture and natural resources committees — critical areas to the state.

“But Montana has more interests than agriculture and national parks,” Williams said. “The more members you have, the more policy you influence.”

Williams said the state’s size also makes another representative crucial. Montana is 15 times larger than Vermont — one of seven states with a lone House representative.

“Trying to travel that for one person, and do a decent job, is impossible for one member,” he said.

Miller said she’s been disheartened watching the possibility of that seat slip away. “It’s really difficult to be waiting for relief from the court, not knowing what’s going to happen,” she said.

The pandemic temporarily halted in-person census operations nationwide, and rural households in Montana with P.O. Boxes didn’t receive mailed census notifications.

Another blow came in August when the Census Bureau moved the counting deadline to the end of September after earlier announcing an extension through October over the pandemic.

The truncated window sent workers racing to complete a count in Montana with a pared-down staff.

“We’re big, we’re rural. It takes time for these enumerators to go door-to-door,” Miller said.

In an August report, the bureau stated it needed 2,000 census takers, also called enumerators, to complete Montana’s count. As of Sept. 28, it had hired only 1,126, including 193 out-of-state individuals, according to an email from a census official obtained by The Associated Press.

The small number of census takers has left nearly 29,000 households that have not been visited as of Sept. 28, according to the email.

The figures look worse on the state’s tribal lands. The August report estimated a need for 50 enumerators on the Crow Reservation and 20 on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. As of Sept. 15, the bureau had hired only five takers for the Crow Tribe and one for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

A Census Bureau spokesperson said the low unemployment rate before the pandemic and the fear of door-to-door work that came after exacerbated the hiring difficulties.

An extension would give Montana’s enumerators a chance to overcome these challenges, getting closer to the coveted second House seat.

“Any time we get, we’re going to take advantage of,” Miller said.

___

Samuels is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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