The Edmonton Oilers had a spectacular start to Game 3. It all began with the anthems.
The crowd took over singing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ when the anthem singer’s mic died. They kept it up during ‘O Canada.’ The energy radiating from the arena was felt by everyone watching, at home or in Rogers Place.
“We didn’t take advantage of the energy that was around us early in the game,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan after the game.
He’s not kidding. Twenty five seconds after the puck dropped, it was in the back of the net. The wrong net.
Rickard Rakell gave the Ducks the 1-0 lead on what is now the fastest playoff goal scored in Anaheim Ducks history.
The Ducks followed up with goals by Jakob Silfverberg and Ryan Getzlaf.
“By the first [TV] timeout, we were down by two, said McLellan. “By the second [TV] timeout we were down by three, and we worked our way back in.”
Patrick Maroon started the rally for the Oilers with 40 seconds to go in the first. Anton Slepyshev kept them momentum going 1:28 into the second. Then, who else, but Connor McDavid with a phenomenal game tying goal.
Less than a minute later, fourth-liner Chris Wagner gave the lead back to the Ducks.
At the second intermission, the Ducks coaching staff played amateur psychologists.
“We tried to convince our group that it was time to regroup here, and get back to doing what we did, said Randy Carlyle to reporters. “The first five minutes of the third was the most important of the game from that point on.”
Four seconds before the end of the ‘most important’ first five minutes of the third, Jakob Silfverberg potted his second of the game to give the Ducks a two goal cushion.
Midway through the period, Ryan Kesler’s goal put Anaheim’s lead back at three.
That would be it for the Oilers.
The Ducks manage to win their first game of the series 6-3, but Edmonton still holds a one game advantage overall.
“It wasn’t our night,” added McLellan. “We weren’t sharp enough. We weren’t alert.
“Individual miscues were plenty. They were all over the board. You couldn’t even really shorten a bench to find two or three lines, or get down to five defensemen, there were that many that were erring on a consistent basis.
“I think that we park it. We move on and we get ready to play … We know we can be better than that, but the details are going to have to get a lot more polished up.”
The Scheduling Gods gave the teams two days off before Game 4.
The Ducks left (escaped?) Edmonton following Game 3 and headed to Kelowna, B.C. They plan to do a little team bonding as they prepare to even up the series, or possibly head home on the brink of elimination.
Game 4 is on Wednesday in Edmonton.