It was a game that seemed too good to be true at some points. As fans of the Winnipeg Jets found out in the end, it was.
The first period was all Jets, starting with an emphatic offensive zone effort on the first shift. Jacob Trouba kicked off the scoring with his ninth of the season, and just five minutes later, Matt Halischuk jumped on a rebound, extending the lead to 2-0 with his second goal in three games. Anaheim couldn’t get anything going in the first, with turnovers aplenty, and the Jets dominating the possession time. Winnipeg finished the period up 19-4 in shots, and with 1:55 remaining on a power-play after an undisciplined penalty by Corey Perry with only five seconds left.
The second period was more of the same. Blake Wheeler made due of Perry’s late penalty, scoring 33 seconds after puck drop to add to the lead. After 10 more minutes of dominance, the Ducks found themselves with 6 shots at the game’s half-way point. At 10:54, Eric Tangradi tipped a point shot from call-up Zach Redmond, and the Jets had opened up a four-goal lead. After some back-and-forth play in the period’s final minutes, the Ducks found some life: Nick Bonino scored his 20th of the season, getting Anaheim on the board.
As one-sided as the play was in the first 40 minutes, the tables were about to turn entering the third period. After the fourth-line took a penalty, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf scored on the power-play, cutting the Jets’ lead to two. It would only be 70 seconds before the lead was reduced to one goal, as Hampus Lindholm wired home his sixth of the season. The Jets and Ducks were set for an interesting finish, with 15 minutes remaining. By the half-way point of the period, the glaring shot totals were in Anaheim’s favour: sixteen to none. The Ducks killed off two penalties, and with the extra attacker, Corey Perry scored with 23 seconds remaining, to send the game into overtime.
The writing was on the wall at this point: It took only 16 seconds for Stephane Robidas to score the game-winner, his first as a member of the Ducks. Anaheim had come back from an insurmountable deficit, and won 5-4.
Erasing a four-goal lead was something the Ducks had never done in their history before Monday night.
The 24 shots the Jets allowed in the third period was the highest single-period total all season.
In a normal situation, the Jets would be happy to get a point from the Ducks, especially on the road. However, blowing a three-goal lead with 20 minutes remaining is simply unacceptable. Jets’ coach Paul Maurice said it best when describing their effort in the third:
“Too much clinching of the cheeks”
And with that, a beat up, defeated Winnipeg Jets team makes their way to Glendale for the second game of a back-to-back Tuesday against the Phoenix Coyotes.
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