Tempers flared late in the first period between the Winnipeg Jets and Anaheim Ducks on Monday, courtesy two separate incidents just seconds apart.
The first was a knee-on-knee collision between the Ducks’ Rickard Rakell and the Jets’ Mark Scheifele, which didn’t result in a penalty call.
After a brief scrum and the ensuing faceoff, Dustin Byfuglien just missed popping Ryan Kesler with an open-ice hit. Another meeting of the minds took place, as the two lines tried to sort out their differences.
It’s been 19 years since a Stanley Cup playoff game was played in Winnipeg. The whiteout returned Monday, when the Jets hosted the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of that first-round series at the MTS Centre.
Loud enough for you? As expected, the first post-season game in that city since the spring of 1996 brought out a boisterous crowd hoping to see their team get back in the series, after falling down 2-0 in Anaheim.
“It’s a real special day for the people that have been here a long time,” said Blake Wheeler, as per the Canadian Press, which noted that snow fell in Winnipeg during the day. “Losing the team a number of years ago, it’s kind of come full-circle. I think it’s a great day for people of Winnipeg.”
And, as expected, the crowd erupted when Lee Stempniak opened the scoring for the Jets before the midway point of the first period.
Another lead going into the third period for the Winnipeg Jets, and another comeback victory for the Anaheim Ducks.
The Jets now trail in this intensely physical first-round series 2-0, after losing to the Ducks in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday, with Jakob Silfverberg burying the winning goal with 21 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Jets must now find a way to grab the lead and hold onto it for the win, and they will play Games 3 and 4 in front of their pumped up fans who haven’t had Stanley Cup playoff hockey in that city since 1996.
“We can’t put it on one thing. We’re down 2-0. We’ve got to remember it but put it behind us,” Adam Pardy told the Winnipeg Sun.
“That’s what we’ve done all year. A lot of people have counted us out at different times throughout the year. There were points where everybody thought we were going to start tanking or things were going to go bad for us. But that’s the best thing about this group, we never quit fighting.”