Huge comeback salvages series for Edmonton Oilers
Photo credit:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
By Jason Gregor1 month ago
You might have sworn. You definitely were upset, frustrated, or both, and your belief waned.
That’s what happens when your team trails 3-0 in the first period. Usually, it means the game is over, but not last night.
For the fifth time in franchise history, the Edmonton Oilers erased a three-goal deficit and won a playoff game.
The Kings led 3-0 at the first intermission. Jay Woodcroft opted to give Stuart Skinner the rest of the night off, and Jack Campbell made his first playoff appearance as an Oiler. The move, combined with a deadly power play, sparked the Oilers as Evan Bouchard and Leon Draisaitl (twice) scored to make it 3-3 after 40 minutes. The Oilers were back in the game.
But they needed another comeback in the third as Matt Roy gave the Kings a 4-3 lead 4:28 into the final frame. The Kings were all over Edmonton and outshot them 13-1 in the first 15 minutes. But then Warren Foegele had a strong shift and a decent chance on a wraparound, and it gave the Oilers some life. The following shift, Darnell Nurse had a good look, and the next shift Evander Kane took a pass from Connor McDavid and beat Joonas Korpisalo glove side to tie the game with 3:02 remaining.
The Kings outshot the Oilers 17-7, but Campbell kept them in the game.
Prior to last night the Oilers were 2-10 in overtime since 2017. Only David Desharnais (2017 v. San Jose) and McDavid (2022 in Calgary) had scored.
This overtime was massive, because a win would even the series, while a loss would have given LA a 3-1 stranglehold. The trend of a team getting a power play in OT in this series continued, except this time it was Adrien Kempe taking a bad penalty as he crosschecked Bouchard from behind into the boards. It was an easy call, just like the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ slash on Kempe was in game three.
The Oilers didn’t capitalize on the man advantage, but they kept the momentum and two minutes later Zach Hyman became the 20th player in franchise history to score an overtime goal. Glenn Anderson has three, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen, Petr Klima and Joe Murphy have two while Randy Gregg, Lee Fogolin, Mark Lamb, Craig MacTavish, Kelly Buchberger, Ryan Smyth, Todd Marchant, Mike Comrie, Jarret Stoll, Shawn Horcoff, Fernando Pisani, Desharnais, McDavid and Hyman have one.
It was the Oilers’ eighth OT winner v. LA. The Kings have five and were on a three-game OT winning streak vs. Edmonton prior to Hyman’s heroics.
It was a huge goal, and combined with erasing the three-goal deficit, history suggests last night’s win gives them a great chance to win the series.
The first four times the Oilers overcame a 3-0 deficit to win the game, they also won the series.
1984: Conference final, game three in Minnesota versus the North Stars. The Oilers led 2-0 after the first period, but Minnesota scored five goals in the first 12:36 and led 5-2. The Oilers responded and scored six consecutive goals to win 8-5. They won the series 4-0.
1988: Opening round, game four in Winnipeg. Paul MacLean made it 3-0 only 1:52 into the second period. The Oilers tied it at three with two goals in 38 seconds of the final two minutes of the second period, and then scored twice in the third to win 5-3. They won the series in five games.
1991: Opening round, game seven in Calgary. The Llames led 3-0, before Esa Tikkanen scored late in the first to make it 3-1. The Oilers scored twice in the second to tie it and went ahead 4-3 early in the third. The Flames’ Ronnie Stern tied the game with three minutes remaining, but Tikkanen completed the hat-trick in overtime. Oilers won the series 4-3.
1997: Opening round, game three in Edmonton v. Dallas. Dallas led 2-0 after the first, then Benoit Hogue made it 3-0 midway through the second period. The Oilers didn’t generate much offence all game, until Doug Weight scored with four minutes remaining in the third. Andrei Kovalenko scored 1:44 later and then Mike Grier tied the game 12 second later. The Oilers scored three goals in 1:56. It was arguably the greatest comeback in Oilers history. Some fans had left, and actually turned around on Capilano Freeway (now named Wayne Gretzky Drive) to get back to watch overtime. Kelly Buchberger scored 9:15 into OT and the Oilers won 4-3. They would go on to win the series in seven games.
2023: Hyman OT winner in game four. Will it catapult Oilers to a series win?
The Oilers have also blown a three-goal lead six times in the NHL playoffs.
|Year||Opponent||ROUND||Game #||Deficit||Result||Series Win|
|2020-21||Jets||1st Round||3||3||EDM 4 @ WPG 5 OT||Yes|
|2016-17||Ducks||2nd Round||5||3||EDM 3 @ ANA 4 OT||Yes|
|2005-06||Hurricanes||Stanley Cup Final||1||3||EDM 4 @ CAR 5||Yes|
|1986-87||Flyers||Stanley Cup Final||3||3||EDM 3 @ PHI 5||No|
|1981-82||Kings||Division Semifinals||3||5||EDM 5 @ LAK 6 OT||Yes|
|1981-82||Kings||Division Semifinals||1||3||LAK 10 @ EDM 8||Yes|
Their only series win came in the 1987 Stanley Cup final. They won in seven games. In the previous 10 occasions the Oilers were involved in a game where a team overcame a three-goal deficit to win, nine of the 10 teams won the series. Across the NHL since 1980, the team who overcomes a three-goal deficit to win a game holds a series record of 45-17.
Last night’s victory for the Oilers completely changed the outlook of this series. Not only did they overcome 3-0 and 4-3 deficits, but they also scored three goals at 5×5. They only had four in the first three games. The scouting report is clearly to shoot upstairs on Korpisalo. Kane and Hyman’s goals were both upstairs, and we’ve seen the Oilers shoot there frequently.
The Kings were much more aggressive in game four and outplayed the Oilers for long stretches. It has been an odd series in how the team that plays best isn’t always winning. The Kings were the better team last night, but lost, similar to the Oilers in game one.
It is now a best-of-three and Edmonton has regained home-ice advantage. The building will be electric tomorrow, as will bars across the city.
In the playoffs, nothing is guaranteed. Enjoy the rollercoaster ride.
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