Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets combine to give us an ending for the ages

Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto (56). Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto (56). Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Wow. What an incredible, irresistible, compelling ending to the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets game on Sunday.

On what was an incredibly busy day in the NHL yesterday with a mouthwatering feast of 11 games, the best was saved to last with the Edmonton Oilers and the Winnipeg Jets playing out an absolute classic, delivering a frantic and truly bonkers ending that will go down in the rich annals of hockey history.

Let’s set the scene. The first two periods were eventful enough with Adam Lowry lighting the lamp for the Jets, who are still adapting to life without Patrik Laine following Saturday’s blockbuster trade, before Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kyle Turris both scored in the second period to strike back for the Oilers. And that’s when things got a little nuts.

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Of course, there wasn’t a lot going on for the first 13 or so minutes of the third and final period with Winnipeg still trailing by a goal but, as is the case with most things, all it takes is for one domino to fall and the rest will follow. And that is exactly what happened at Bell MTS Place on Sunday.

It all started when Nikolaj Ehlers scored for the Jets at 13:54 to make it a tied game, swiftly followed by Blake Wheeler who scored the go-ahead goal on the power play at 15:07. The craziness was only just getting started, however. Because, at 16:55, Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto benefitted from being on the ice with Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, taking a hard pass from the latter and tapping in the game-tying goal.

Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets combine for an instant classic

Now, if you thought this wild barnstormer of a game was going to be decided by some 3-on-3 hockey in Overtime, then you would be wrong. Because, at 19:59 in the third period with just one second, yes one second, remaining in regulation, the following happened.

With time rapidly running out, McDavid took the puck behind the net while desperately trying to look for a pass and, with exactly one second remaining, he fed the puck to Draisaitl who unleashed a lightning-quick wrist shot past Laurent Brossoit for the dramatic game-winner. It was sheer jubilation for the Edmonton Oilers but pure devastation for the Winnipeg Jets who must have felt sure they were going to Overtime.

It was just a wild finish to what was a truly frantic six-minute period which saw the Jets tie the game and then take the lead, the Oilers then made it a tied game before Draisaitl scored what was the ultimate buzzer beater to give a truly memorable showdown a fitting ending.

Draisaitl’s last-gasp game-winner was the latest go-ahead goal in regulation in franchise history for the Oilers, and it was also the forward’s ninth point (3 G, 6 A) of the 2020-21 season. It was truly spectacular to see both sides slug it out until a final knockout blow was delivered, and it certainly provided incredible entertainment value for those fans tuning in.

That’s what hockey is all about at the end of the day and that level of drama and exhilarating entertainment is simply hard to find in other sports. This was two teams laden with firepower going all out until the very bitter end and it was the Oilers who were ultimately rewarded with just one second remaining.

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You won’t get many better finishes to an NHL game than the one we were treated to last night and it was a hugely important win for the Edmonton Oilers, who entered the game with a disappointing 2-4-0 record. But, Leon Draisaitl’s late, late heroics completed what was an absolute thriller for his team who can maybe use this as a spark to go on a run, while their win over the Winnipeg Jets will immediately be filed under an instant NHL classic. And so it should.