The MTS Centre crowd was as loud as anyone could have expected, but with a quick deflection in overtime, Rickard Rakell made the Winnipeg Jets faithful eerily silent. With the overtime victory, the Anaheim Ducks took a 3-0 series lead on the Jets and can lock up the series win Wednesday night.
Through the first two games of the first-round series between Winnipeg and Anaheim, the Jets have gone into the third frame with the lead. Game 3 was much the same, but again, the Ducks clawed back in the third period to tie up the contest. However, Monday’s outing was the first of the series to go to extra time.
In overtime, it didn’t take long before Anaheim completed the comeback. Little more than five minutes into the extra frame, Rickard Rakell stripped Mark Scheifele of the puck behind the net where it was scooped up by Andrew Cogliano and sent back to Francois Beauchemin. Beauchemin, the crafty veteran blueliner, fired a low, hard shot toward Rakell, who deflected the puck between Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec’s legs:
Rakell had been held off the score sheet in the series, but was noticeable Monday evening even before he managed to pot the winner. Throughout the night, he had been buzzing around the Jets goal and involved in more than a few skirmishes in front of Pavelec. His tally, which is only the 10th he has scored in the regular season and playoffs combined, puts the Jets on the brink of elimination, too.
Anaheim now leads the best-of-seven series 3-0 and has won every game after trailing heading into the third period, making them the first team in NHL history to win three playoff games when down after two. Though the Ducks were the top team in the Western Conference during the regular season, many considered the Jets a formidable opponent in the first-round, so a 4-0 sweep of the Jets would serve to put the rest of the West on notice that finishing first was no fluke.
Game 4 of the series goes Wednesday night in Winnipeg.