Ondrej Pavelec’s goaltending heroics weren’t enough to protect a Winnipeg Jets lead from the third-period power of the Anaheim Ducks.
Silfverberg’s lightning-quick release beat Pavelec from the bottom of the left circle with only 21 seconds remaining on the clock.
It was an unexpected end to another bone-crunching, tightly-contested affair between these teams that seemed destined to go deep into overtime.
Pavelec was the real star of the night, weathering 17 shots in the first and third periods and turning aside 37 shots in total keep his squad in the game until the end.
For a while it looked like Adam Pardy would be the unlikely hero, after he scored his first goal in four years to make it 1-0 Jets in the second.
There was some question as to whether Andersen was interfered by Lee Stempniak, but the officials ruled Stempniak had been pushed into the net by Ryan Kesler. To make matters worse, Kesler was still shoving Stempniak back into Andersen when Andersen tried to get across to stop Pardy.
Pardy’s last pro hockey goal came as a member of the Rochester Americans during the 2012-13 season, but his last NHL goal was four teams and four year ago – Jan. 26, 2011 to be exact, a goal for the Calgary Flames against the St. Louis Blues.
Ryan Kesler had trouble playing on the edge without going over it on Saturday. He took two bad penalties, including one for an illegal check to the head of towering Jets blueliner Tyler Myers.
Kesler caught Myers leaning forward to get a puck and exploded up and into him with a body check, drilling his elbow into the side of Myers’s head.
Myers remained in the game and Kesler took a penalty on the play. The league will have a look at the play – it always does – but a suspension is unlikely. Myers wasn’t hurt and this is the playoffs, when you have to send a guy off on a stretcher to draw a three-game suspension.
Patrick Maroon had the Ducks’ tying goal with a deflection off a Cam Fowler shot that beat Pavelec through a screen. Pavelec had just recovered his goal stick after a scrambling, spectacular save, and didn’t quite get set to face the Fowler shot.
Anaheim carried the play in most categories, outhitting Winnipeg 48 to 33 and outshooting them 39 to 29. The Ducks had the Jets playing desperate defence through much of the game, with Pavelec shouldering far too much of the burden to hang on to the lead.
Winnipeg only blocked eight shots to Anaheim’s 15.
Both goalies made some great saves, and their play in this series has eliminated any doubts they might lose their respective nets before the round is over. Bruce Boudreau has no one else to turn to in Anaheim and Andersen’s given him no reason to lose faith, while Pavelec looks like he won’t open the door to Michael Hutchinson any time soon.
It’s actually pretty startling to see both goalies settling in so well, what with all the uncertainty in some of the other series. We’ve already seen Chicago, Calgary, Detroit and Washington play second-string goalies, and we’re only two games into the first round.
St. Louis, Vancouver and Ottawa have capable backups who could still see the ice in these playoffs, and if the Ducks or Jets make a switch, they could boost that number even higher.
But so far, at least, Andersen and Pavelec are doing their job, and it’s the players who need to step up their scoring.
As THN’s Ken Campbell pointed out on Twitter, the Jets have held the lead for most of this series, yet the Ducks have shown an extraordinary ability to come from behind in the third period.
By my calculations, Winnipeg has had a lead for 43:21 of this series. Anaheim has led for 4:10.
— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) April 19, 2015
Anaheim won a ton of one-goal games this season, which explains their mediocre plus-10 goal differential when it’s compared to other top teams like New York (plus-60), St. Louis (plus-47) and Tampa Bay (plus-51). The Ducks don’t blow out teams, but they never say die, either. When the game is close, they know how to close it.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 19, 2015
The Jets were victimized by a few questionable high-sticking calls, but the fact remains they only scored once and tried to make that enough.
They’ll need to score more than one goal and put the game away before the third period if they’re to get a win back in Winnipeg.