ANAHEIM, Calif. â€” If not for the final few minutes of the third period, Friday night almost certainly would have been remembered as a breakthrough playoff performance for Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid.
Instead, because Anaheim scored three goals in a span of three minutes one second to produce a historic comeback and overtime win, Game 5 became another testimonial to Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.
The two leaders of their respective clubs have had a tremendous impact on the second-round series, and it was on display again during the Ducks’ 4-3 victory over the Oilers.
McDavid had a power-play goal and an assist in helping build the Oilers’ 3-0 lead, his first career multi-point performance in the playoffs, only to see Getzlaf score the first goal of the Ducks’ improbable rally and cap it by finding Corey Perry for the winner 6:57 into the second overtime.
“You don’t have to say much about that,” McDavid said. “Definitely disappointing.”
McDavid scored for the third consecutive game and did it at the expense of Ducks forward Ryan Kesler, who had already established himself as the top agitator to the Oilers star before confirming it in the contentious cauldron of a best-of-seven series. McDavid batted a bouncing puck between Kesler’s legs and into an open net for his fifth post-season goal.
McDavid then showed his chemistry with Drake Caggiula, who replaced Patrick Maroon on the top line, on the Oilers’ third goal. Caggiula and McDavid effectively turned a 4-on-2 break into a 2-on-1 rush, their give-and-go giving the Oilers their third goal 12:28 into the second period.
It seemingly would have been enough if not for the spark Getzlaf provided with 3:16 left in regulation when he scored his eighth goal of the playoffs. Getzlaf’s shot hit Leon Draisaitl in the back and careened past goalie Cam Talbot, the first domino in a comeback never before seen in the NHL.
No team had even rallied from a three-goal deficit in the final four minutes to send a game to overtime, let alone win. The Oilers came closest in Game 3 of their 1997 first-round series against the Dallas Stars, also rallying late for a 4-3 overtime win but doing so with five minutes to play in the third.
“We did what we had to do,” Getzlaf said. “We scratched and clawed at the end and found a way to get back into that game to give ourselves an opportunity.”
The Oilers were able to regroup after Rickard Rakell tied it up with 15 seconds to go, creating more scoring chances than the Ducks in the first overtime. Getzlaf eventually found Perry in the second extra session for his fourth multi-point game in the series.
“We found a way to will it across the line at the end,” said Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle.
But one team’s collapse is another’s comeback, as the Ducks can attest. They have squandered 3-2 series leads in each of the last four years, losing Game 7 at home each time.
McDavid vowed to put the Ducks in exactly that situation, guaranteeing a return trip to Orange County for a decisive game Wednesday night.
“When your leader says that, now we’ve got to come out and do it,” Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said Saturday morning before the team’s flight back to Edmonton.
Notes: McLellan did not have an update on the availability of defenceman Andrej Sekera for Game 6 on Sunday. Sekera played just 1:54 before leaving with an apparent leg injury following a hit from Getzlaf.
Dan Greenspan, The Canadian Press