In his first game back since April 24, Nikolaj Ehlers scored Winnipeg’s first and fifth goals, lifting his team over the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 5-4 in overtime.
The Jets trailed 4-1 with 8:20 remaining the game and managed to knot the game at four with 5:16 left in the third, scoring three goals in under three minutes.
Josh Morrissey notched the tying goal with Blake Wheeler and Mathieu Perreault finding the scoresheet as well for Winnipeg.
“It was obviously an exciting win. Coming back from three goals, it was exciting for our group, no doubt. But I think the biggest takeaway is you need to win another game. Definitely a thrilling game, definitely an exciting game but we’ve got to start focusing on (Monday night) pretty quick here,” said Wheeler following the win.
Leon Draisaitl (2), Zach Kassian and Jujhar Khaira found twine for Edmonton.
RAW: Winnipeg Jets Ehlers & Perreault Interview – May 23
Connor Hellebuyck made 44 saves to Mike Smith’s 37 to pick up a third straight playoff win.
The crazy third period comeback effort means the Jets have a chance to sweep the series on Monday night in game four.
“That’s our team. I mean, we don’t give up. That’s what’s so fun playing on this team and after the OT winner you can see the joy. I mean, you always dream of scoring these kinds of goals,” Ehlers smiled after the game.
“The roof would have come off this building, it would have been absolutely insane,” said winger Mathieu Perreault.
RAW: Winnipeg Jets Paul Maurice Interview – May 23
With 16,345 white towels occupying the seats instead of a loud ‘whiteout’ Winnipeggers have become accustomed to, the Jets gave up the opening goal for the second time in the series.
Slater Koekkoek put a puck through traffic at the point and after bouncing off a Winnipeg defender, Leon Draisaitl found the puck square on his stick.
Draisaitl skirted around the glove side of Hellebuyck right beside the net and tucked it home. 1-0 Oilers.
The Jets found themselves in the box twice shortly after the first goal. Pierre-Luc Dubois went off for hooking and Nate Thompson was called for High Sticking.
With just under a minute of 5-on-3 time, Draisaitl worked his beside-the-net magic once again, scoring from basically the exact same sport as the game’s opener.
After shoving in the Kailer Yamamoto rebound, the German picked up his second goal of the evening. Both tallies came off bang-bang plays where Connor Helebuyck didn’t have much of a chance.
The Oilers fired 16 pucks at Hellebuyck in the opening frame.
The Jets only tested Mike Smith seven times in the first 20 minutes.
The pace of play throughout the first ten minutes of the middle frame was noticeably levelled down from game two but Jets found themselves on their first man advantage after Jujhar Khaira was called for delay of game immediately after firing the puck over the sideboards.
Blake Wheeler ripped a one-time chance off the pad of Mike Smith, but aside from that, the Jets didn’t come close to cutting the deficit in half on the power play.
Winnipeg went back on the powerplay just over seven minutes later and this time they capitalized.
Dubois shuffled a pass over to Nikolaj Ehlers at the top of the far circle and he sniped it right over the glove of Mike Smith in his first game back since suffering an upper-body injury on April 24.
The Jets couldn’t hold on to the momentum for long, though, as Zach Kassian buried a Leon Draisaitl feed for his first point of the playoffs exactly 1:05 after Ehlers cut the deficit in half.
The period came to a close with the Oilers still leading heavily in total shots, 30-18.
Just 4:43 into the final period, the Oilers padded their lead, beating Hellebuyck for the fourth time in the evening.
A seemingly harmless Adam Larsson point shot got deflected at point blank range by Jujhar Khaira, increasing the Oilers’ lead to 4-1.
With just over seven minutes left on the game clock, it was Mathieu Perreault injecting some life into the Jets’ bench with his first point of the playoffs.
Following a messy rebound fest in front of the Oilers’ net, Perreault jumped in on the play and found the back of the net. 4-2.
Moments later, another favourable rebound went the Jets’ way as Blake Wheeler swooped in to shovel it over the left pad of Mike Smith.
Only 18 seconds after that, the Jets gained zone entry right off the faceoff at centre and Josh Morrissey tied the game at four.
RAW: Winnipeg Jets Wheeler & Morrissey Interview – May 23
Scoring for the first time this post season, Morrissey took a few steps in from the point and waited for traffic in front to clear before picking the far corner on Smith.
Winnipeg edged Edmonton in third period shots 12-11, scoring three goals in under three minutes to force overtime.
Right off a faceoff to the right of Mike Smith, Paul Stastny won it back to Nikolaj Ehlers, who lasered it top shelf past Smith.
The overtime win gives Winnipeg a 3-0 series lead.
Game four goes Monday night, marking the only back-to-back scheduled during the series.
Puck drop at Bell MTS Place goes at 8:45 CT, with Paul Edmonds and Jamie Thomas calling the action 680 CJOB.
Kelly Moore will hit the airwaves with the Anchor Products pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.
Edmonton Oilers vow to push province to allow fans in Rogers Place
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.