Ryan Reaves had appeared in 17 playoff games for St. Louis prior to Wednesday, and had yet to hit the score sheet. That changed in Game 4 between the Blues and Minnesota Wild.
Reaves opened the scoring with his first career playoff goal and point, blasting home a shot that beat Devan Dubnyk. Trailing 2-1 in the series and searching for answers after Game 3, the Blues took off from there.
They added two more goals — from Vladimir Tarasenko and David Backes — to take a 3-0 lead over the Wild by the 10:06 mark of the opening period. The Blues maintained that lead into the intermission.
Rickard Rakell will go down in the history books.
Not only did the 21-year-old center score the overtime winner against the Winnipeg Jets in a Game 3 victory for the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, silencing a crowd and a city that hadn’t hosted a Stanley Cup playoff game in 19 years, he became the youngest player in franchise history to score an OT playoff goal, as per the league.
Meanwhile, the Jets once again felt the pain of defeat. On home ice, too, with a crowd that was loud and clad almost completely in white.
Three times in this series, the Jets have had the lead in the third period. Three times, they’ve lost. They’re now facing elimination and a possible sweep.
“Yeah, it’s hard. It’ just more of the same. We lead the whole damn series and we’re 0-3. That’s the way it goes. That’s hockey. We just have to find a way to get that first one,” Jets forward Blake Wheeler told the Winnipeg Sun.
“Don’t allow them to score. If we had a better answer, it would probably be 3-0 right now. You’ve got to win four games. We’ve won four in a row before. The first one’s going to be the hardest one, apparently. So just lick our wounds tonight. It’s going to hurt obviously, and the sun’s going to rise tomorrow and we have to refocus for Game 4.”
The St. Louis Blues couldn’t generate much of anything, just 17 shots on goal on Devan Dubnyk by the end of Monday’s game, and now trail the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in their opening-round series.
That led to plenty of frustration from the Blues after losing to the Wild and having trouble with Minnesota’s team speed in Game 3.
“They’re a team that’s going to be there from the start to the finish. They battle, every single line,” said goalie Jake Allen, as per a video on the Blues’ website.
“I think we’ve got to realize that now and we can’t let the ball slip anymore. That’s the way they play, one of the best teams in the league since Christmas. They had a slow start to the year but since Christmas, they’ve probably been one of the top one or two teams in the league. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We’ve dug ourselves a hole and now it’s time to get out of it.”
At the other end of the rink, Dubnyk didn’t see many pucks his way, but he stopped every shot he faced for his first playoff shutout.
The Wild struck quickly with a pair of goals from Jason Pominville and Zach Parise just 2:05 apart in the second period, taking the lead and they wouldn’t give it up.
“I’ve seen some pretty incredible performances here at home by us,” Dubnyk told the Pioneer Press. “And this ranks right up there with them. There just weren’t any mistakes.”
The third time wasn’t the charm for the Winnipeg Jets. Meanwhile, the same can’t be said for the Anaheim Ducks.
For a third straight time in this physical first-round series, the Ducks went into the third period trailing and again they were able to come back for a win. Anaheim took Game 3 on Monday by a final score of 5-4 in overtime, pushing the Jets to the brink of elimination with a 3-0 series lead.
So much anticipation had been building for this event.
The first Stanley Cup playoff game in Winnipeg since 1996. The fans were loud. There was a whiteout in the MTS Centre. And the Jets, after three goals in a wild second period to gain the lead, were two minutes and 14 seconds away from a big win and getting back into the series.
Then Ryan Kesler, who was front and center throughout this game, scored the tying goal, eventually sending it to the extra period. That’s when Rickard Rakell, involved in a knee-on-knee collision in the first period, was given credit for the winner on a deflection in front of Ondrej Pavelec.
That stunned the crowd and the Jets.
From the opening faceoff, the series between the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets has been physical and bruising.
The list of examples is already massive, and growing. But here’s one of the latest: Matt Beleskey absolutely running over Jets defenseman Adam Pardy in the second period of Game 3. Shortly after, the Ducks were able to score, with Pardy, caught on the ice, unable to defend on the play. That goal tied the game at 3-3, but the Jets responded just over two minutes later on a blast from Bryan Little.