Well, I’m sure I’m not the only Jets writer who had to scrap some material from their recap this evening as the Oilers completed a massive comeback to win 5-4 in OT.
The Jets come out swinging, and the name of their game seems to be pressure. Lowry potted two quick goals, the first after the EDM D got crossed up after sustained pressure and he walked it into the crease from the corner unopposed to tuck it five-hole. The second came not long after when the Roslovic line hemmed in the Oilers long enough to get in a partial line change. Lowry snuck off the bench and into the slot undetected, was fed a beautiful pass by Mathieu Perreault, and lifted his own rebound past Cam Talbot. After a regrettable DZ tripping penalty by Kulikov, McDavid scored a PP marker off the rush with startling predictability – they don’t call him McJesus for nothing. The Jets responded with a quick goal off a point shot by Ben Chiarot and facilitated by a nice screen by Patrik Laine. The first period set a frenetic pace for the rest of the game, but featured some great plays by Lowry, some excellent (and one extremely lucky) saves from Hellebuyck, and the Jets ended up on the PP after EDM was responsible for a too-many-men penalty.
Again, the Jets came out of the gates hard, scoring early when Laine blasted a shot from his office which rebounded off of Talbot’s pad and directly to Mark Scheifele in the slot, who rocked it home to put the home team up 4-1. Instead of giving up, EDM settled in and gradually fought the Jets to a standstill. Both teams spent stretches stuck in their own zone, but the period failed to elicit any more goals despite Laine getting two good looks on another PP and despite a number of (very frightening) 2-on-1 opportunities for EDM. I should note, however, that to this point in the game Laine had coughed up the puck several times when under pressure, and was having a great deal of difficulty making his way through the NZ with possession of the puck.
This time, the Oilers were the ones who came out swinging when McDavid sped into the zone, faked out the defender, faked a shot, then cooly drop-passed the puck for Rattie, who blasted home is first career NHL goal. The TSN crew seemed pretty convinced that McDavid bobbled the puck but I’ll be damned if he didn’t look like he knew what he was doing to me. By the second minute of the period it had already become clear that EDM had shifted the momentum in their favour when Copp took a “holding” penalty on an attempted zone exit. Presumably he was only assessed a holding minor because the NHL rulebook doesn’t have an explicit ban on Judo throws or WWE takedowns. Yikes. McDavid – of course it was McDavid again – was quick to punish this impudence with his second PP goal of the night, cleaning up a rebound from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers, smelling blood in the water, played hard and created some dangerous looks. Despite another lucky save for Hellebuyck, and a straight-up robbery of Kailer Yamamoto in tight, it seemed increasingly probable that EDM would tie things up. Which they did. But first, the tensest moment of the period came when, with Jets up 4-3, Nikolaj Ehlers managed to create – and then negate – a two-on-one chance against. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before Jesse P. camped himself out on the crease with his stick on the ice like a good boy and deflected in a pass from Nugent-Hopkins. Oh. And McJesus snared the second assist on the tying goal for his fourth point of the night. While the Jets had been showing signs of life late in the 3rd, the teams went to OT with four apiece.
Every second that McDavid is on the ice at 3v3 is full of tension. Although Scheifele and Wheeler held him off, the second pair of forwards that the Jets put out consisted of Ehlers and Laine, who are not the most defensively-attuned options on the roster. Darnell Nurse carried the puck in from his own end, danced right between Laine and Ehlers with a smooth toe-drag and snapped a wrist shot through Hellebuyck before the ‘tender knew what hit him. Offence firepower is great and all, but I’m not sure Ehlers-Laine is a pair I would have chosen to put out there. Perhaps this was the result of a partial line change that I missed, but whatever the reason for this deployment Nurse was able to complete EDM’s impressive comeback after beginning the 3rd period down 4-1.
Oh well. At least we got a point out of it?
Even though McDavid put up 4 points on the evening, I did feel that Trouba and Morrissey had done a good job of shutting him down at 5v5. When that guy is clicking, though, there is no stopping him.
Other quick reactions:
- I like seeing the Lowry line’s strong play get rewarded
- The Little line wasn’t as bad in the OZ as they have been lately. Still pretty bad in the other zones.
- Even though I remain a big fan of Marko Dano, I can’t deny that Lemieux and Roslovic looked pretty good out there together.
- Fun hockey is fun, even when your team loses. What a rollercoaster!