After a rough go in game 3, many people were expecting to see Mikko Koskinen in goal for the Oilers in game 4. That would not be the case, as Mike Smith retained the start and redeemed himself to a degree. It was a back and forth affair, but the Oilers effort wasn’t enough to keep them alive despite pushing the game into triple overtime. Let’s take it from the top this time.
The Oilers disciplinary issues continued into period one of game 4 as Mark Scheifele would draw a hold out of Adam Larsson just under five minutes into the game. With about 30 seconds left on the Winnipeg power play, Josh Morrissey found Blake Wheeler on the right wing boards, who wired it cross ice for Scheifele who caught the pass and buried it all in one motion. The same player that drew the penalty gave the Jets an early lead with his first goal of the playoffs, 1-0 Winnipeg.
The Oilers would quickly rebound as Jesse Puljujarvi passed to Leon Draisaitl on the breakout, Draisaitl would have a give and go with Connor McDavid, who swung behind the Winnipeg net and beat Connor Hellebuyck to the opposite post on the wraparound play. McDavid finally had his first goal of the playoffs, and the Oilers are once again showing signs of life. The usual suspects get the game knotted up at 1-1.
With a little over four to go in the first, a scrum along the boards in the Edmonton zone resulted in the puck being freed up and passed to Morrissey on the point. He fired a wrister at Smith, and Mason Appleton would get a stick on it before it got there. The deflection would beat the Edmonton net minder to give Appleton his first goal of the playoffs, and the Jets the lead once again. 2-1 for the home team.
Early in the second period, a former first overall pick of the Oilers would tie it back up, and it wasn’t Connor McDavid. Larsson made a pass from his own end to Kassian in the neutral zone, who dished it cross ice to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who did his best McDavid impression with a solo effort drive to the net. He shot it from the high slot for a rebound, skated through two Jets defenders, picked up his own rebound and deked to the backhand to score his first of the playoffs. The Nuge is alive, and it’s a 2-2 game.
The Oilers got a powerplay opportunity of their own, and they were starting to look like the same powerplay unit that led the league in the regular season. Larsson made up for his bad penalty in the first by drawing a holding call on Pierre-Luc Dubois. McDavid passed to Draisaitl in the high slot, who moved it over to Nugent-Hopkins on the right wing, and the shot from RNH resulted in a rebound that was stuffed home by Alex Chiasson for his first of the playoffs, (noticing a trend here?) and the Oilers have their first lead of the night. 3-2 Edmonton.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, there was another whole period left to play. Six minutes into period 3, Blake Wheeler fired a cross ice pass to Scheifele, who was all alone on the blocker side of Smith. He one timed it into cage before Smith could get across, and Scheifele’s second of the night, as well as the playoffs, would tie the game back up at 3-3.
This one would go to overtime for the third straight game, but before regulation ended, Jets captain Blake Wheeler went down to block a shot that hit him right in the nuts. I felt awful for the guy to be honest. He doubled over on the ice in pain and then got up and speed waddled down the tunnel. Luckily for the Jets, he would return for OT.
For the first time in the series, one overtime would not be enough to settle the score. An eventful twenty minutes came and went in OT1, as McDavid and Draisaitl played what seemed like every other shift and put their time on ice for the night well over the thirty minute mark. Chances were exchanged at both ends, Smith had two massive saves on yesterday’s OT hero Nikolaj Ehlers, and Puljujarvi had his stick ripped out of his hand and launched across the offensive zone as he failed to finish on a lethal back door chance with time winding down in the extra frame. The D pair of Pionk and Forbort continued their surgical defense of The McDavid line, giving them little to nothing in terms of time and space.
Early in the second overtime period, Darnell Nurse broke the NHL record for ice time in a playoff game previously held by Chris Pronger as he approached 48 minutes played. Just over six minutes into the period it became the longest game in Winnipeg Jets franchise history, and then Nurse’s ice time eclipsed the fifty minute mark. The Jets seemed to be carelessly icing the puck in this period, and it didn’t really matter because they were so dominant in the faceoff circle. With each big save made by both goaltenders in this period, it started to feel like this game could go on forever. Even the guy dressed up like a Bud Light seltzer sitting over the banner for the product was starting to look fatigued. Two overtimes would not do it.
In the first triple overtime game of the 2021 NHL playoffs, Kyle Connor would be the hero and send the Jets to round 2. He skated down the right wing side all alone and beat Mike Smith one on one to end the marathon of a game with his second of the playoffs. It’s a 4-3 final as the Jets complete the series sweep of the Oilers 4-0. 3 out of 4 games required overtime.
The player of the series is without a doubt Josh Morrissey. Not only did he contribute a handful of points, but his defensive play limited the Oilers best players to 0 points in the first two games, and was enough to hold them off in games 3 and 4 to complete the sweep. The Oilers best player was probably Draisaitl, but McDavid pretty much had an equal effort, and neither player did enough to help the Oilers win a single game. Darnell Nurse was the only consistently good defenseman for Edmonton, and he finished game 4 with 62:07 time on ice.
I was going to take a look at some positives and negatives for the Oilers after the series but let’s face it, it’s just a whole lotta negatives. The depth scoring wasn’t there, the defense collapsed when it mattered most, and, outside of game 4, the play of Mike Smith left a lot to be desired. With that said, it’s now 2 in the morning and my head is still killing me from my second covid shot, so I’m gonna wrap this one up. I wish we could’ve seen the Oilers make a run here and I could’ve enjoyed it the whole way with you guys, but unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be. Good luck to the Winnipeg Jets and the rest of the teams still competing for the Stanley Cup (except the scumbag Islanders.)