Connect with us

Sports

Jets’ emotional weekend ends with hollow feeling as Oilers stymie late rally – Sportsnet.ca

Published

 on


WINNIPEG — There’s nothing quite like an unexpected shot to the solar plexus to end an emotional weekend.

With the Winnipeg Jets wrapping up the busiest stretch of the NHL season after the organization completed a blockbuster deal involving a guy who was viewed as a franchise cornerstone, this rollercoaster evening included a stirring rally to take the lead late in the third period but concluded with a buzzer-beater from Leon Draisaitl.

Just like that, the Jets were left to deal with a hard-luck loss as the Oilers snatched defeat from the arms of victory. Oilers 4, Jets 3.

Even earning a single point and getting the game to overtime probably would have palatable, given that this was the fifth game in seven days. Ending up with nothing left a hollow feeling for a group that had won three consecutive games against the Ottawa Senators after a lacklustre showing against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“There’s no excuses,” said Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers, who scored in the third period and has four goals during the past four games. “We were behind and we battled our way back and didn’t end up getting the two points. The way we played today, we deserved at least a point. That sucks, but we’ve got a game in two days and we want to get those two points so we’re gonna look forward now.”

Considering the Jets didn’t play with the lead for a single minute until the fourth game of the season, it stands to reason that slamming the door remains a work in progress.

Losing leads is something that is going to happen over the course off a season. That doesn’t take away the sting.

Nor does it take away the importance of closing out games — especially against teams that are quickly approaching in the rearview mirror.

A topsy-turvy third period saw the Jets erase a 2-1 deficit with goals from Ehlers and Blake Wheeler to take the lead with just under five minutes to play.

That ability to rally under tough circumstances is what Jets head coach Paul Maurice is going to focus in on.

Blowing a late lead doesn’t erase the resilience shown, though it’s a reminder of how difficult it is to win — especially when two of the most talented players in the NHL raise their respective level with the game on the line.

“The real positive for the game is our third (period). To come out and find that in the tank, I was really impressed with that,” said Maurice. “So, it’s a brutal way to end the game, for sure. But I will be left with how hard they pushed in the third. I’m really, really pleased with those guys finding that gear. That was just about character in the third and it’s a tough lesson, the way it ended, but I’m really, really proud of them.”

If come-from-behind wins (like the one the Jets had in the season opener or last Tuesday against the Senators, when 3-1 deficits turned into overtime wins) are something that teams use as a springboard for future success, is there any concern about lingering residue when a team suffers a heartbreaking loss?

“You always deal with the hockey part of it. That’s always the easiest part in the NHL, dealing with that,” said Maurice. “We’ll look at this next game with a real strong focus, not real happy with the way it ended and feeling that we could have been in better control of our destiny at times.

“We did an awful lot of good things, but there’s also going to be a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.”

That light at the end of the tunnel for the Jets will be closing out this stretch of six games in nine days.

But head coach Dave Tippett of the Edmonton Oilers opted for the nuclear option, tapped Connor McDavid on the shoulder and asked him to go out on the ice with Leon Draisaitl and Kailer Yamamoto. Folks have seen this movie before and thanks to a strong offensive-zone shift, McDavid was able to thread the needle to Yamamoto for the tying goal.

Then, after the Jets killed off a minor penalty to Dylan DeMelo, Draisaitl find a quiet spot in the slot and ripped home the game-winning goal after taking a pass from McDavid.

Game. Set. Match.

“Yeah, they are good players, and they are going to do damage when given opportunities like that,” said Adam Lowry, who was frustrated by what happened on the game-winner. “So, I think I just get caught on the back-side there and vacate the slot as I’m worried about Nugent-Hopkins, and it goes right to the guy in the middle and he buries it. It’s unfortunate.”

Although the Jets did a great job of neutralizing McDavid and Draisaitl for a good chunk of the game, the late offensive eruption is precisely why the Jets went out and made the blockbuster move for Pierre-Luc Dubois, to give them another two-way weapon down the middle in the matchup game.

One of the most important decisions in this contest came late in the first period on a coach’s challenge by Tippett.

The Jets thought they had taken a 2-0 lead on a goal from Andrew Copp. After Mikko Koskinen stopped a shot from Ehlers, the puck was loose and Copp got a piece of it — but he also caught the glove of the Oilers goalie with his stick.

Although the puck appeared to already be behind Koskinen, the referees disallowed the goal because of the contact that was made.

“It’s a goal,” said Maurice. “For me, I think the puck is past his glove. I’m not even sure that there’s contact there. They felt it was close, so there’s no argument.”

Jets centre Lowry didn’t feel like the group sagged after the goal was disallowed.

“Sometimes those, I just feel like you flip a coin and see how it comes out,” said Lowry, who scored his third goal of the season. “I don’t see a whole lot on that, I feel like we’ve had ones where there’s more contact against us… They must have seen something that stopped Koskinen’s ability to make the save, so they make that ruling and we just have to regroup from there. I don’t see that we let that affect us negatively, it’s unfortunate though because (Copp) had a heck of a first period and really deserved that one.”

Tippett wasn’t sure it was goalie interference, but figured the challenge was worth the risk even if it didn’t work out, given how his team was playing.

“I was so frustrated with the way we were playing, I was going to (challenge) it anyhow,” said Tippett.

Instead of being down by a pair of goals and scrambling, the Oilers steadied themselves and then came out stronger in the second period, getting a rebound goal from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins just 21 seconds in.

Jesse Puljujarvi made the most of his promotion to the top line alongside McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins. Aside from his strong net drive and primary assist on the goal from Nugent-Hopkins, Pulujarvi was around the puck, generating scoring chances and engaged physically.

That’s the template for Puljujarvi to remain in that spot — or to get more future looks.

A lack of secondary scoring had been a major storyline for the Oilers in the early stage of the season but Kyle Turris put a dent in that well-deserved narrative with a well-placed shot over the glove of Jets backup Laurent Brossoit.

By the time the buzzer sounded on the period, the Oilers had outshot the Jets 19-6, outscored them 2-0 and had barely given up any scoring chances. The Oilers were fresh, while the Jets looked like a team that was playing for the fifth time in seven nights.

Just when you thought the Oilers had taken full control, the Jets scored twice in the third to pull ahead by a goal.

Instead of rolling over, the Oilers found a way to rally and they’ve now won two of the past three games going into Tuesday’s rematch.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Wayne Gretzky Chokes Up Delivering Emotional Eulogy for His Father – TMZ

Published

 on


Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Jack Todd: Habs' shakeup behind the bench pays off against Jets – Montreal Gazette

Published

 on


Dominique Ducharme has fresh ideas, and he is going to give his talented youngsters a chance to show what they can do

Article content

Ah. There’s nothing like a converted touchdown on a Saturday night in early March to dull the claws of your critics.

After a mad, mad, mad, mad stretch that saw the Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, assistant Kirk Muller and goalie coach Stéphane Waite (and a couple of minor stumbles out of the gate for new head coach Dominique Ducharme), the Habs got their groove back in that 7-1 win over a good Winnipeg Jets team.

Of course, the real reason they won was that they ditched the Jinx Blue jerseys in favour of Rockin’ Red — but there were also a few other minor details we noticed:

Start with Jesperi Kotkaniemi. If you want to know why Montreal drafted Kotkaniemi ahead of Brady Tkachuk, it was all right there.

In his first big move, Ducharme put Kotkaniemi between high-scoring Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson and it worked like a dream. Kotkaniemi, who once told Arpon Basu that he didn’t have a weak side when it came to taking faceoffs because “both sides are bad,” was good from both sides Saturday.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Kotkaniemi won all six faceoffs in the first period and was an eye-popping 13 for 15 for the game.

The club’s much-maligned forwards came through to the point that only Corey Perry (who has been a blessing since he escaped the taxi squad) missed the score sheet. Carey Price, the much-maligned goaltender, appeared to have received three words of advice from new goalie coach Sean Burke: “Move your feet.”

Price moved his feet. He was square to the shooter. When he does that, it’s like trying to chuck a banana past King Kong. He’s too large to be scored on.

Then there was Brendan Gallagher. Every year they tell us Gallagher is getting too beaten up, that he can’t take this kind of punishment and keep producing, that the contract was too much.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Then they play the games and there is Gallagher in his office, getting buffeted around like a raft in a gale, then you look up and Gallagher has 10 goals and it’s impossible to imagine this team without him.

All in all, Saturday’s game was a beautiful ending to a very rough stretch. It won’t mean much unless the Canadiens can sustain their momentum through another of those six-game road trips (beginning in Vancouver, where the Leafs’ juggernaut hit a speed bump), but you have to like the way Ducharme has it going.

It has to be a relief to Marc Bergevin, who took radical steps after the season’s quick start dissolved in a long stretch of fluffed saves, missed nets and a goalie controversy.

Bergevin could have handled Waite’s firing better, simply by waiting until the morning after. By canning him between periods, Bergevin made himself look like a man floundering around in the dark trying to find the light switch. It appears Bergevin did know what he was doing, but the timing was straight out of Pierre Gauthier’s Handy Guide on How Not to Do Things.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Still, the Canadiens emerged from a tough stretch solidly in possession of a playoff spot, with a chance to move up and avoid Toronto in the first round. (Although the first round might be the time to catch the Leafs, while they’re still jittery and painfully aware of their long string of first-round playoff failures.)

I hate firings, but changes had to be made. Bergevin has assembled a stronger team than any we have seen since at least 2014 and he had every right to expect better results on the ice. When he didn’t see them, he moved swiftly and decisively, even if the timing could have been better.

He also hired the right coach. Ducharme communicates, he has fresh ideas, and he is going to give his talented youngsters a chance to show what they can do.

You can’t ask for more.

Canadiens’ Cole Caufield leads the team’s stretch during development camp at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on June 26, 2019.
Canadiens’ Cole Caufield leads the team’s stretch during development camp at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on June 26, 2019. Photo by John Mahoney /Montreal Gazette

Lies, rumours &&&& vicious innuendo:Cole Caufield is going to tear up the National Hockey League. You didn’t read it here first, but it’s true. That shot is so good, Caufield can make the highlight reels while ringing one off the post. You’re gonna love him, people. …

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

We shrugged when we saw Tom Wilson’s hit on Brandon Carlo. Of course the refs ignored it and of course Player Safety would do nothing. But then they brought the hammer down on Wilson with a seven-game suspension. Richly deserved — but why this one when so many similar hits have brought nothing at all? The consistently inconsistent NHL. …

FIFA godfather Gianni Infantino’s claim for replay review is epic. VAR, says Infantino, “adds another layer of adrenalin” for fans waiting for the outcome of another botched decision. No, Gianni, all it does is waste time and infuriate fans.

Heroes: Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Brendan Gallagher, Jeff Petry, Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson, Tomas Tatar, Jonathan Drouin, Phillip Danault, Olivier Renard, Artemi Panarin, &&&& last but not least, Walter Gretzky.

Zeros:Tom Wilson, the NHL Department of Player Safety, UFC, Dana White, VAR, Gianni Infantino, Kevin Gilmore, Justin Kingsley, Nikita Mazepin, Ron MacLean, David Samson &&&& last but not least, Jeffrey Loria.

Now and forever.

jacktodd46@yahoo.com

Twitter.com/jacktodd46

  1. Canadiens' Tyler Toffoli (73) celebrates with Josh Anderson (17) after scoring against the Winnipeg Jets during NHL action in Montreal on Saturday, March 6, 2021.

    Four-goal explosion in second period powers Canadiens 7-1 over Jets

  2. Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield scored two goals Saturday afternoon to lead the University of Wisconsin to a 2-1 win over the Michigan State Spartans in Big Ten action.

    Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield finishes NCAA regular season in style

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Oilers’ Yamamoto fined for ‘dangerous’ trip on Flames’ Andersson – Sportsnet.ca

Published

 on


The NHL’s department of player safety announced Sunday that Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto has been fined $3,854.17, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for a “dangerous” trip on Calgary Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson.

The incident occurred during the Oilers’ 3-2 win over the Flames at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday. As Yamamoto jousted for position in front of the Calgary net with Andersson, the diminutive winger kicked the Flames rearguard’s left skate out from under him, sending him to the ice.

Yamamoto was assessed a two-minute minor penalty for tripping on the play.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending