Maybe try taking a timeout next time, Dave. Final Score: 5-4 Jets in OT.
As far as I saw it, the only option in game three was for the Oilers to go balls out for 60 minutes and win on a night when they had to. Full stop. That’s it. This was the list of options. If a two-game hole was bad news already then a three-game hole might as well be the kiss of death, and it was an outcome that simply could not happen under any circumstances. Not only did the Oilers desperately need the win, but they needed to turn in the kind of statement game that showed the Jets that they weren’t going to be walked over in this series nor would they be going away easily. They needed to be the team that was willing to leave it all on the ice and do everything in their power to get away from looking like they were playing the game completely devoid of offensive confidence. And just like we drew it up, the boys hit the ice with what was undoubtedly their best period so far and they used that juice to work the Jets all over the ice until they were eventually able to end their drought with a pair of timely goals to grab their first lead since game one.
Moving into the second period, I was expecting the Jets to respond with a much better effort than we saw from them early on and that’s more or less what happened as they tried to open things up in an effort to claw their way back. Right from the opening draw, Winnipeg skated hard to try and manufacture chances and throw pucks on net, and it looked like the strategy was going to work for a minute as Nik Ehlers was able to pull his club back to within a single goal, albeit temporarily. Unphased, the Oilers were able to respond quickly with a huge goal by Kassian to not only restore the lead but, more importantly, halt any momentum from swinging the Jets way. Up by two goals with 20 minutes to play, the Oilers were in a great spot to pull themselves back into the series but it was only going to happen if they kept their pace up rather than trying to ride out the clock. In the early moments, the boys didn’t have much interest in sitting back as they were not only able to further extend their lead with a huge depth goal from Khaira but also did a decent job of limiting Winnipeg’s chances to the outside of the ice. Things were looking good, and maybe that’s where we got tricked. Then, in the span of just over three minutes, the Jets pulled another page out of our collective nightmares as they were able to claw their way back with three quick goals that not only shocked the team but everyone watching as well.
Heading into overtime for the second straight game, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having major 2017 flashbacks from when the Oilers dropped three straight goals against the Ducks before losing in OT, and I was very concerned that the boys would be feeling too fragile to actually compete for the win. And while they did have some chances to close things out, they were unable to beat Connor Hellebuyck which opened the door for the Jets to complete the comeback and send us all spiraling into a tailspin of heartbreak and despair. That’s life as an Oilers fan, I guess.
THE BRIGHT SIDE
- Leon Draisaitl got the Oilers on the board (1-0) after a Koekkoek point shot was deflected right to his stick where he pulled a nice little dangle with the puck behind the goal line before tucking it into the empty net. Only a few minutes later, Draisaitl got a second goal on the powerplay (2-0) from his office near the net after the Jets found themselves on a little bit of a parade to the penalty box.
- Just over a minute after Ehlers got the Jets on the board, Zack Kassian restored the Oilers’ two-goal lead (3-1) after picking up a perfect cross-ice pass from Draisaitl in the slot and lifting a wrister up and over Hellebuyck on the blocker side. I know a lot of us have been tough on Kassian for his play over the first couple of games, so I’ll be the first to credit him for his best game of the series by far. This was the exact type of game we need from him.
- Jujhar Khaira gave the Oilers a second dose of insurance (4-1) after he was able to win his battle in front of the net just in time to perfectly deflect Larsson’s point shot past Hellbuyck. It was the kind of depth goal that the Oilers haven’t had all season, and I could not have been happier to see him get on the board with a huge third-period marker.
- A lot has been said about how quiet Connor McDavid has been over the first couple of games of this series, but I don’t think anyone will be able to say much after the effort he put in tonight. All night long, the captain was everything we needed him to be and it was no surprise to see that both he and Leon were the ones to lead the charge.
- Mike Smith was absolutely fantastic on Friday night and seeing him lose despite standing on head was a major bummer, and I hoped the boys used that dad disappointment as part of their motivation because they let him down in a huge way. This wasn’t Smith’s night but I’m not going to hang this loss on him. Smith finished with 32 saves and a .865 save%.
- I like the way Slater Koekkoek has looked on the third pairing since coming back from a broken collarbone. At first, I was annoyed that he was replacing Jones but I feel like he’s fit in nicely in that spot.
- Coming into tonight’s game, the Oilers hadn’t scored a powerplay goal on the four chances they’ve had in the series and I was hopeful that the trend would end here in game three. Thankfully, the boys were able to cash in one of three chances with the man advantage, which was certainly nice but not enough to get us back in the win column.
- The Corsi Gords have been pleased throughout the series as they love seeing the Oilers taking shots from everywhere, and they will be please again as Edmonton won the shot war by a 48-37 margin.
THE FACE PALMERS
- Nikolaj Ehlers made an immediate impact in his series debut by getting the Jets on the board (2-1) with a snipe of a shot that beat a stickless Smith up and over the glove hand. Frankly, I was hoping Ehlers was going to look rusty in his first game back and it was annoying to see him as sharp as he was. Ehlers added a second goal in OT to close things out and I’m honestly so annoyed about it that I refuse to describe the goal.
- Mathieu Perreault gave the Jets some life in the third period with a powerplay goal (4-2) that came as a result of a scramble near the net when his shot took an unlucky bounce in off of Bear’s skate.
- Blake Wheeler pulled the Jets to within one with a late goal (4-3) after he was able to pick up a rebound near the side of the net and elevate the puck up and over Smith who was down in his butterfly.
- Only 16 seconds after Wheeler drew the Jets closer, Josh Morrissey tied the game (4-4) with a sneaky wrist shot from the point that made its way through traffic and beat Smith on the glove side.
- I love Josh Archibald but that low-hit penalty he took could not have been dumber.
- If ever there was an example of how to not close out a game then the Oilers would have just shown everyone what that looks like.
- Why does Dave Tippett hate timeouts so much? I mean, you’d think the guy may call one in the third period when the wheels started to fall off but nothing. Not only that, but he also thought that giving the third and fourth lines defensive zone draws when the score was 4-2 would be a good idea, and I just don’t get it.
- The PK was a disaster tonight as it allowed two goals on three chances again.
- The Oilers couldn’t win a faceoff to save their lives, and while I normally joke around about this stat in the wrap up, seeing that they won only 37% of the draws fits right into the way this thing ended.
Dearest Great One,
Please bless this game with many Oilers goals and give the team the strength to come back and prevail in this series like we know they can. In McJesus we Trust. Amen. #MISSION21 @OilersNation pic.twitter.com/8CqSUymTrB
— Custard Ferguson (@CustardFergus0n) May 23, 2021
— X-Kennedy (@kennedystrash) May 24, 2021
Mikko Koskinen just chilling there pic.twitter.com/dKYdnaJiNJ
— x – Adam (@OilersAdam) May 24, 2021
Kass is just one of those players who feeds off the energy of a wild crowd or a human can of seltzer
— x – Ryan (@IAmByks) May 24, 2021
just a short 30 years ago, 1 could pull a postage paid card out of a mag. check all boxes, including bill me…& have a 20+ volume of hard cover encyclopedias mailed to the address of your choosing.
— TheMediterraneanChicken (@TheMediterran10) May 24, 2021
I have a puke pail beside me
— Justin Leray (@leray81) May 24, 2021
— x – Bruce Wayne (@B_Balfour14) May 24, 2021
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