Ooh man. The Oilers won't be over this one for a long, long time. Edmonton was lit as could be as the home fans tried to rally their club against the formidable Colorado Avalanche in Saturday's Game 3. It was all for naught.
Trailing 2-1 entering the third period thanks largely to some phenomenal goalie play by Mike Smith, the Oilers got an equalizer from Ryan McLeod at the 7:34 mark. Then, a power play chance arrived, with Edmonton getting the chance to seize the lead late. Instead, Evan Bouchard's attempt hit the post. J.T. Compher instantly redeemed his penalty by racing out of the penalty box and squeezing a shot right through Smith's five-hole:
SHEESH what a dramatic turn of events. Literal inches from the Oilers going ahead 3-2. It's conceivable that they could've rode that momentum all the way to a victory to cut the series deficit in half. Unfortunately, Edmonton could be staring down an early exit in the midst of a 0-3 deficit.
It's a shame, too, because Smith came to fucking play. The 40-year-old netminder had a rough time in his first two starts in this Western Conference Final. He played more than well enough to get the "W" here, recording 39 saves. The Oilers tried to force overtime late with an extra attacker, only to see Mikko Rantanen steal the puck and tack on an empty-netter.
Colorado is so deep, so talented, and to his credit, Pavel Francouz has filled in exceptionally well for the injured Darcy Kuemper between the pipes. Francouz got bailed out by the iron in this particular sequence, yet he also stopped Connor McDavid right on the doorstep not long before then and made several other critical saves among his 27 for the night.
Only four teams have ever rallied from a 0-3 deficit in NHL playoff history. If anyone could do it, you'd think McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Edmonton's high-octane attack could get it done. Then again, this is the 2022 Avs we're talking about, and they seem hellbent on putting their recent postseason woes behind them. They're coming for Lord Stanley's Cup this time around.