The Winnipeg Jets can to advance to the Stanley Cup Second Round with a victory in Game 4 of their best-of-7 series against the Edmonton Oilers at Bell MTS Place on Monday.
The Jets won 5-4 in overtime in Game 3 on Sunday, coming back from trailing 4-1 with less than nine minutes remaining in the third period.
It’s the first time in Jets/Atlanta Thrashers history they have led a series 3-0.
Teams that take a 3-0 lead are 193-4 (98.0 percent) winning a best-of-7 series, including 1-0 this season.
“If it’s going to take 60 minutes or more, it’s going to take 60 minutes or more,” Jets forward Paul Stastny said. “We’ve got to be ready for that knowing that they’re going to leave it all out there because potentially it’s your last game of the season. So they’re going to come out fighting as hard as they can.”
Winnipeg became the 10th team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to win a game it had trailed by at least three goals in the final 10 minutes of the third.
Facing a sweep and trying to extend the series, the Oilers will be counting on more from forward Connor McDavid (three assists) and Leon Draisaitl (two goals, one assist), each of whom scored three points in Game 3. The top two scorers in the NHL during the regular season each had been held without a point in the first two games.
“I thought yesterday we could have handled the end a lot better,” Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson said. “Last night was tough, but waking up today, you’re looking for redemption today. We just have to win today and go back to Edmonton and try to win a game and then it’s a 3-2 series and everything can happen. One game at a time here and tonight is do or die, a really important one.”
Here are 3 keys for Game 4:
1. Maintaining poise, focus
To close the series, the Jets must remain focused.
Even when they were trailing in the third period of Game 3, coach Paul Maurice said there was a determination to push to the finish and the idea of ending that game strong was a focus that turned into something tangible.
“How we finished the game was important,” Maurice said. “And then we had something good happen. And then just build on it, and find a way to keep going. Resilience will be tested over and over and over again in playoffs. It happens in periods, it happens shift after shift. So having success by being resilient, by staying in the fight, even if you don’t know the outcome of the game, will become part of what you believe is true and become who you are.”
2. Back-to-back energy
The Oilers quickly need to flush the negative emotions of their loss in Game 3 and return to the aggressive, quick game that helped them build their 4-1 lead.
It won’t be easy given that it’s a back-to-back situation, when physical and mental fatigue becomes more of a factor. But Edmonton was 7-3-0 in the second game of a back-to-back set during the regular season.
Winnipeg was 5-3-0 in the second of a back to back.
“It’s great that we play today,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “Get right back at it. You don’t have to wallow in last night’s loss. … We had a good meeting this morning and hopefully we show up tonight ready to play.
“You grieve when somebody passes away. We lost a hockey game. We’re not grieving on anybody. We’re [upset] that we lost. We’ve got to get right back on the horse and get going.”
Tippett said goalie Mike Smith will start. Connor Hellebuyck will start for the Jets. It will be the first time this season each goalie plays both games of a back-to-back set.
3. Power plays
Game 3 was the first time in the series special teams played a role.
After having no power plays in Game 1 and going 0-for-2 in Game 2, the Jets got power-play goals from Nikolaj Ehlers and Mathieu Perreault to go 2-for-3 in Game 3. They’re 2-for-5 in the series (40.0 percent) after having the seventh-best power play in the NHL during the regular season (23.0 percent).
Edmonton has an extra challenge against Winnipeg’s power play in Game 4. One of its top penalty killers, forward Josh Archibald, received a one-game suspension from the NHL Department of Player Safety for clipping Jets defenseman Logan Stanley at 11:11 of the third period of Game 3.
After going 0-for-4 on the power play in the first two games, Draisaitl scored a 5-on-3 goal for the Oilers in the first period of Game 3. Edmonton was 1-for-3 in the game and is 1-for-7 in the series (14.3 percent) after leading the NHL at 27.6 percent during the regular season.
Oilers projected lineup
Leon Draisaitl — Connor McDavid — Jesse Puljujarvi
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Ryan McLeod — Zack Kassian
Devin Shore — Jujhar Khaira — Dominik Kahun
Tyler Ennis — Gaetan Haas — Kailer Yamamoto
Darnell Nurse — Ethan Bear
Dmitry Kulikov — Adam Larsson
Slater Koekkoek — Tyson Barrie
Scratched: Kyle Turris, Joakim Nygard, Patrick Russell, Evan Bouchard, William Lagesson, Caleb Jones, James Neal, Alex Chiasson, Alex Stalock, Philip Broberg
Injured: Kris Russell (lower body)
Suspended: Josh Archibald
Jets projected lineup
Kyle Connor — Mark Scheifele — Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers — Paul Stastny — Pierre-Luc Dubois
Andrew Copp — Adam Lowry — Mason Appleton
Mathieu Perreault — Nate Thompson — Trevor Lewis
Josh Morrissey — Dylan DeMelo
Neal Pionk — Derek Forbort
Logan Stanley — Tucker Poolman
Scratched: Ville Heinola, Sami Niku, Jordie Benn, Kristian Vesalainen, Jansen Harkins, Dominic Toninato, Eric Comrie, Mikhail Berdin, David Gustafsson, Cole Kehler, Joona Luoto, Dylan Samberg, Marko Dano, Nelson Nogier, CJ Suess
Injured: Nathan Beaulieu (hand)
Tippett did not reveal who would replace Archibald, a forward, in the lineup. … The Jets are expected to use the same lineup from Game 3.