HIGHLIGHTS: Jets on Brink After OT Loss

HIGHLIGHTS: Jets on Brink After OT Loss

By Jason Bell, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: April 21, 2015 00:31:02 AM



WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Right winger Rickard Rakell scored on a deflection at 5:12 of overtime Monday night to lift the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Jets and a strangle-hold of their first-round Western Conference playoff series.
Rakell redirected blueliner Francois Beauchemin's point blast for his first goal of the playoff series.
The Ducks have a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven opening-round series with the Jets.
For the third straight game in the series, the Jets owned a one-goal lead to begin the third period -- this time 4-3 -- but couldn't protect it.
Ducks center Ryan Kesler scored the tying goal at 17:46 after taking a pass from right winger Jakob Silfverberg and beating Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec. It was Kesler's first goal of the series, while Silfverberg registered his third point of the night.
Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen took a delay-of-game penalty at 18:11 to re-energize the crowd. Jets center Bryan Little had two spectacular chances to score on the power play, but he hit the post on a slap shot and then, just seconds later, was robbed by Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen.
Right wingers Lee Stempniak and Blake Wheeler, Little and defenseman Tyler Myers scored their first goals of the series for the Jets.
Ducks right winger Corey Perry scored his third goal of the series, Silfverberg notched his second, while defenseman Cam Fowler ripped his first.
Winnipeg hockey fans celebrated the return of playoff hockey to Winnipeg with a complete 'Whiteout' of the MTS Centre. Dressed head to toe in their finest whites, lucky ticket holders resurrected a tradition that began in the 1980s when the first edition of the Jets skated in the NHL.
Even the weather cooperated as snow flurries hit the city for the first time in a couple of weeks.
The Jets host Game 4 on Wednesday night.
Stempniak really gave Jets fans something to scream about at 9:38 of the first period when he took a pass from rookie center Adam Lowry and swiped the puck past Andersen. The goal was the first by the Jets in an NHL playoff game in the Manitoba capital since the spring of 1996, when defenseman Norm MacIver lit the lamp against the Detroit Red Wings just before the Jets relocated to Phoenix.
Little had a chance to beef up the lead when he jumped on a loose puck and fired a quick shot with 49 seconds left in the period, but Andersen snared it.
The Ducks evened the contest 1-1 with just seven seconds left on a terrific wrist shot by Fowler, who beat Pavelec low to the glove side. The clubs were playing four aside, and some sloppy work deep in their own end by blueliners Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba led to a giveaway and the tying goal.
Anaheim seized the lead early in the middle frame. Left alone in front, Perry had an easy tap-in at 3:08 to give the Ducks their first lead.
But Myers tied it 2-2 at 6:40 with the hosts enjoying a man advantage. The 6-foot-8 defenseman picked off a weak clearing attempt and blasted a point shot past Andersen for the Jets' first power-play goal of the series.
Just under three minutes later, Wheeler took a pass from right winger Drew Stafford and snapped a shot off the crossbar that bounced down behind Andersen.
The lead, though, was short-lived. Jets defenseman Adam Pardy took a punishing hit from left winger Matt Beleskey and couldn't corral the puck, Kesler picked it up and found Silfverberg alone on the doorstep for an easy goal at 16:04.
But the Jets grabbed their third one-goal lead of the game on Little's rocket from the slot at 18:18. He intercepted Fowler's no-look clearing pass and teed up a slap shot that found the top corner.
NOTES: Ducks RW Chris Wagner, injured in Game 2 on Saturday, was replaced in the lineup by LW Tomas Fleischmann. ... Anaheim C Nate Thompson (upper body) participated in the morning skate, but he didn't play in Game 3. He might be available for Game 4 on Wednesday. ... Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice went with the same lineup he used in Game 2, sticking with LW Mathieu Perreault and D Adam Pardy in place of LW Matt Halischuk and D Ben Chiarot. ... Anaheim C Ryan Kesler scored 30 goals during the 2004-05 AHL season with the Manitoba Moose, but that was long forgotten as Jets fans chanted an anti-Kesler saying during the pregame skate and loudly booed him at every turn. ... NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was in town for the first playoff action in Winnipeg since 1996