Jets suffer 5-4 OT loss to Ducks in Game 3
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/04/2015 (2962 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s not a particularly pleasing sound, hearing the air surge out of the biggest party balloon this town has ever seen.
But at exactly 11:20 Monday night, Richard Rakell of the Anaheim Ducks took a ginormous pin and slammed it straight into the heart of the heart of the Winnipeg Jets playoff party — the first in these parts since 1996 — scoring the game-winner at the 5:12 mark of overtime to give the Western Conference’s top seed a 5-4 win and a 3-0 stranglehold on their opening-round Stanley Cup playoff series.
Three times in this battle the Jets have held a third-period lead. And three times the Ducks have come to life when it mattered most to rally.
“We don’t stop believing in that room,” said Ryan Kesler. “It has been like that all year. To do it in the playoffs in three straight games, it’s pretty special, and there is something special growing in that locker room right now.”
Game 4 goes Wednesday night and, barring a small miracle, the Winnipeg Whiteout will be sporting black arm bands before long.
The Jets, as has been the story in all three games of the series, carried a lead into the third period only to see the Ducks rally in the dying moments. Ryan Kesler buried a shot past Ondrej Pavelec with just 2:14 left in regulation before Rakell tipped home a Francois Beauchemin point blast early in the OT.
The winner came after another wave of Ducks pressure, with Andrew Cogliano forcing a turnover behind the Jets net before feeding the point.
“We had a good forecheck going there and Cogs made a good pass up to Beauch, Beauch made a great shot to find my blade there and I just tried to deflect it to the net,” Rakell said. “It felt good.
“It felt pretty tough during certain periods of this game, but the way we managed to come back, what three times now? It shows the character of some of the guys on our team is really strong. We’re very confident and we never stop playing until they signal goals. We just believe in ourselves. We know we’re a good team and we know that if we play the game we’re going to play, we shouldn’t lose. We’re just going to keep coming.“
And so, get this: the Ducks, who have led for just over 10 minutes total in this entire series, still have a 3-0 grip on the thing.
“It’s kind of been the story of the series. We can’t seem to get a bounce against these guys,” said Jets centre Bryan Little. “Again, that late goal in the third kind of killed us and took away some momentum for us. We’ve got a mountain to climb and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Rarely, if ever, does a game framed with this kind of build-up match the hype. But this night was absolutely everything as advertised… X2. The crowd, sporting every imaginable white garb and accessory, let roar with its first ‘Go Jets go’ chant with 11 minutes left… in the pre-game warm-up.
It was at full throat during O Canada, spit out ‘Kesler Sucks’ before the opening face-off, tormented Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen all evening and busted out a mocking ‘Katy Perry’ chant aimed at sniper Corey Perry in the third period.
It picked the Jets up when they were scored on and was up on its feet as soon as any sign of a lull appeared about to settle in to the proceedings. It even serenaded the team with another ‘Go Jets go!’ farewell as the dejected crew left the ice after Rakell’s dramatics.
In short, it was exactly what this team needed after coming home from California down 0-2 in the series.
Fuelled by Passion? Absolutely. There can be a lot of pent-up frustration, excitement — everything — when a town hasn’t played host to an NHL playoff game since 1996.
“The energy in the building, that’s as good a building as I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Jets coach Paul Maurice. “We had good jump and good legs because of it. We needed it. We used it to good effect for a big chunk of the game.”
SOME GOOD, A LOT OF SAME OLD, SAME OLD
The Jets came into the game with zero goals from their top line of Andrew Ladd, Little and Michael Frolik and just one — courtesy Drew Stafford in Game 1 — from their Top 6. But it was Little who scored the go ahead goal, burying a brutal Cam Fowler giveaway with a top-shelf slapper late in the second period. He wasn’t the only sniper to pull the trigger, as Blake Wheeler also found the back of the net as well as Lee Stempniak and Tyler Myers, the latter coming on the power-play — Winnipeg’s first man-advantage goal of the series.
But the Jets pairing of Dustin Byfuglien (-3) and Adam Pardy (-2) struggled— Mark Scheifele and Wheeler were also -2 — and they once again took their foot off the gas late. And that is a movie Jets faithful have seen a lot in the last five days.
“The simple thing is to focus on the one game,” said Maurice when asked about the long odds his club is now facing. “That’s what’s left, and then we’ll go through the things that were different in tonight’s game and the two previous games and try to get as much of that in the next game.
“It’s a tough hill to climb. The positives are we’ve had leads in all these games, so it’s there. We want to make sure that we play with the same attitude we played (with) the next game, and we will.”
THE SIGN OF A CHAMP
The Ducks third-period counterpunch has been their trademark all season. They entered the game already the first team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to take a 2-0 series lead when trailing at the start of the third period in two games, and did it again Monday night.
“It’s hard to put a finger on it,” said Little. “If we knew what it was, we’d fix it. You’ve got to give them credit, they don’t stop. They go right to the end of the game. It almost gets in your head how good they are at it. They’ve done it to us three in a row now. A couple bounces either way tonight and we could’ve had a different outcome.”
The Ducks now have 21 wins — 18 in the regular season, an NHL record and now three in the playoffs — when trailing at any point in the final period.
That’s what battle tested looks like. And it’s what battle tested does to spoil what could have been a damn fine party.
Updated on Monday, April 20, 2015 1:09 PM CDT: Updates with full writethru
Updated on Monday, April 20, 2015 10:00 PM CDT: Updates score.
Updated on Monday, April 20, 2015 11:01 PM CDT: Updates score.
Updated on Monday, April 20, 2015 11:03 PM CDT: Adds decibel video.
Updated on Monday, April 20, 2015 11:31 PM CDT: CP writethru.
Updated on Monday, April 20, 2015 11:47 PM CDT: Local writethru.
Updated on Monday, April 20, 2015 11:53 PM CDT: Adds slideshow.
Updated on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 12:25 AM CDT: Writethru with quotes.