For most of Game 3, it felt like the Oilers were bringing things “back to normal,” at least for those who expected them to beat the Jets. Most obviously, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl broke through after opening the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs with two pointless games.
After the first period, Draisaitl and McDavid combined to put the Oilers up 2-0 over the Jets in Game 3. Even when the Jets got one back in the second, Edmonton only needed a minute and four seconds to restore a two-goal lead.
When the Oilers made it 4-1 less than five minutes into the third period, it seemed like they had the Jets beat in Game 3. Then the Jets took off, and eventually beat the Oilers 5-4 in OT to take a 3-0 series lead.
The Oilers won’t get much time to shake off the shock of this loss, either, as they face the Jets in Game 4 on Monday (9:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN [stream here]).
Oilers squander 4-1 lead; Jets push Game 3 to OT
After McDavid and Draisaitl helped the Oilers build a 4-1 lead, the Jets put together a stunning third-period surge. Most stunningly, it went from 4-2 to 4-4 in a stupefying 16-second span.
With a bit more than eight minutes remaining in the third, Mathieu Perreault scored a power-play goal. It seemed innocuous enough, thought it clearly nudged the door open.
Then Winnipeg kicked it down, dropping plenty of jaws in the process. Blake Wheeler scored the 4-3 goal 14:28 into the third, then Josh Morrissey faked-out Mike Smith to make it 4-4 just 16 seconds later. Astounding.
Chalk it up to feeling stunned, but Mark Scheifele won Game 3 for the Jets late in regulation, but Smith made the saves for the Oilers.
Smith did his best to redeem himself and the Oilers, but it was not to be. As much as Game 3 first seemed like “the return” of Draisaitl and McDavid, it was literally-returning Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers who scored the OT game-winner.
Stunningly, McDavid, Draisaitl, and the Oilers are staring down a possible Jets sweep after Game 3. As improbable as that once seemed, now Edmonton needs an even more improbable comeback.
OILERS VS. JETS (WPG leads 3-0) – series livestream link
Game 1: Jets 4, Oilers 1
Game 2: Jets 1, Oilers 0 (OT)
Game 3: Jets 5, Oilers 4 (OT)
Monday, May 24: Oilers at Jets, 9:45 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
*Wednesday, May 26: Jets at Oilers TBD
*Friday, May 28: Oilers at Jets TBD
*Sunday, May 30: Jets at Oilers TBD
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.