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 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.
The Winnipeg Jets lost Dustin Byfuglien in their postseason push thanks to the hybrid player’s errors of judgment. They might lose him in the playoffs for a similarly questionable decision.
It wasn’t “Dale Hunter on Pierre Turgeon” bad, yet many evoked the notorious moment in postseason history after seeing Byfuglien take down Corey Perry after the Anaheim Ducks scored a 2-1 goal:
The infraction draw a two-minute roughing penalty, yet one cannot help but wonder if supplemental discipline may come for Big Byfuglien. Even if it ends with that minor penalty, it’s another bit of evidence that Byfuglien may want to keep a cooler head.
Apparently it’s just been that kind of night, too.
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.