Canadian clutch

Ducks’ late-game hero­ics work north of bor­der too, as Rakell wins it in OT

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Lisa Dill­man


WIN­NIPEG, Canada — Their third-pe­riod magic made the long trip, crossed the bor­der to Win­nipeg and car­ried right over into over­time.

With that, the Ducks es­tab­lished an even tighter grip on this play­off se­ries and pushed the Win­nipeg Jets to the brink of elim­i­na­tion with a 5-4 win in over­time Mon­day night at MTS Cen­tre in Game 3.

Jets fans waited 19 years to see a play­off game and re­acted with vo­cal sup­port. Af­ter three nerve-wrack­ing pe­ri­ods of mo­men­tum-swing­ing hockey, plus over­time, they are still wait­ing to see a win.

The Ducks

lead the West­ern Con­fer­ence quar­ter­fi­nal se­ries, three games to none. Game 4 is here Wed­nes­day night. Ducks for­ward Rickard Rakell had the win­ner, at 5:12 into over­time, tip­ping a point shot by Ana­heim de­fense­man Fran­cois Beau­chemin past Jets goalie On­drej Pav­elec.

Ana­heim is the first team in NHL his­tory to record three straight wins when trail­ing en­ter­ing the third pe­riod in a sin­gle play­off se­ries, ac­cord­ing to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Even one of the ar­chi­tects, Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau, was at a loss to de­scribe the third-pe­riod come­backs.

“It is stunning. I don’t know what to say,” Boudreau said as he made the long walk to the in­ter­view room. “It hap­pens and you just al­ways be­lieve it’s go­ing to hap­pen.”

The true believ­ers in the dress­ing room — his play­ers — had more in­sight and the same be­lief. Don’t stop be­liev­ing? “No, I don’t think so,” Rakell said. “We al­ways have a good feel­ing and we’re never go­ing to stop, ever. We be­lieve in our team.”

Said Ducks for­ward Jakob Sil­fver­berg, who scored once and added two as­sists: “I wouldn’t say that you want to be calm. We’re ob­vi­ously play­ing with a lot of con­fi­dence. We know we can do it and we have that be­lief. That’s the big­gest thing, the con­fi­dence we have in our group that the game is never over for us.”

The plays and the goals that the Ducks could sum­mon with poise and skill — and did so of­ten dur­ing the regular sea­son and the first two games of the play­offs — were there one more time. It was a hard-hit­ting, wildly en­ter­tain­ing con­test as the teams com­bined for 105 hits, in­clud­ing a ques­tion­able hit from be­hind by Win­nipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien on the Ducks’ Corey Perry right af­ter Perry had scored in the sec­ond pe­riod.

The teams also com­bined for seven goals in the first two pe­ri­ods be­fore things qui­eted, a bit, in the third — un­til Ducks cen­ter Ryan Kesler’s late goal pushed it into over­time. He scored at 17:46 of the third to tie it, 4-4. Kesler found him­self wide open at the base of the left cir­cle and con­verted a pass that Sil­fver­berg some­how threaded through traf­fic.

“I kind of saw Cogs [An­drew Cogliano] go­ing to the net, cre­at­ing some havoc,” Sil­fver­berg said. “I saw some­one back­door and tried to get the puck over there. I’m not sure how many guys it went through.”

Said Boudreau, of Kesler: “This is when he’s good. When the crowd’s on him. He loves that and he comes to the fore.”

The third-pe­riod come­backs also in­volve flip­ping the keys over to Ducks goalie Fred­erik An­der­sen, so to speak. An­der­sen faced 35 shots, made nine saves in the third pe­riod and de­nied the Jets’ Bryan Lit­tle with a ter­rific glove save with about a minute re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion.

“Fred­die? He’s a great goalie and we know he’s shut­ting the door ev­ery time in the third pe­riod, that’s one of the big­gest keys for us com­ing back,” Sil­fver­berg said. “We know he won’t let in a goal in the third pe­riod.”

Said An­der­sen: “We all bat­tled and worked our . . . off the whole game. It’s not al­ways go­ing to be like this. The way we work it’s go­ing to be a lot of times where we come back and get th­ese huge goals at the right times.”

Trevor Ha­gan As­so­ci­ated Press

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLASS is a cold and quiet place as Ryan Kesler and Jakob Sil­fver­berg cel­e­brate in front of stunned Win­nipeg fans af­ter Kesler’s goal tied it for the Ducks with 2:14 left in third pe­riod. Rickard Rakell scored game-win­ner in over­time.

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