|RICKARD RAKELL, Ducks|
|BEST IN CLASS — FINAL MINUTE|
There are countless remarkable things to comment on from the Ducks miraculous comeback win against Edmonton last night.
In a spring where 2-goal leads regularly turn to dust, Anaheim raised the bar to 3-goal deficits with under 3 and a half minutes left in the third period. What’s more, all three goals came with their goaltender John Gibson pulled for an extra skater.
It was a 10:45 start on the east coast. The Oilers scored three goals in the first 12 and a half minutes of the second period and maintained that 3-0 lead through the first 16 minutes of the third period. And this is why play-by-play announcer Chris Cuthbert hit the perfect note when Rickard Rakell tied the game with 15 seconds left by exclaiming, with both incredulity and irony, “Are you watching this!?!”
The Ducks did not get to that point with any sense of inevitability. Before finally breaking though on Cam Talbot, they were turned aside 18 times by the Oiler goaltender in the third period. But they saved their best for last, and cashed in three of their final four shots on goal in the frantic closing minutes.
The first two Anaheim goals came on bombs — Ryan Getzlaf from the left point and Cam Fowler from the very top of the high slot. But Rakell’s goal was pure bodies-strewn-everywhere madness.
Fowler retrieved a puck that was skittering its way out of the zone and spun around while launching a despearation heave at the Edmonton net with 21 ticks remaining on the clock. Like the other goals, this one made it on goal through traffic, but Talbot was able to block it with his pads. Corey Perry was first on the rebound, but in too tight to do anything other than pound it off Talbot’s pads again.
By now, five of the six Oilers, including Talbot, were rimming the crease — and only two remained upright. The puck was consequently
Rakell collected it on his backhand and swooped it right back into the mass of humanity piled up around the crease. Somehow it hit absolutely nothing among the bonfire of legs, sticks, gloves piled up there. It ducked under all of them, so to speak, and found its way over the goal line.
The ducks floated on air and the Oilers were as animated as a slick of crude on a bay at low tide. And that’s when Cuthbert seized the moment with his epic, “Are you watching this!” exclamation.
No I wasn’t. I had slipped into the arms of Morpheus a half hour earlier when the score read Oilers 3, Ducks 0, end of second period. Would I trade that extra hour two hours of sleep back to have seen all this and the twenty more shots Anaheim would launch on goal, culiminating with Perry’s game-winner seven minutes into double overtime? Every day and twice in overtime.
|5/5/2017 vs. Edmonton|