Now that we’ve all had a day to recover from the triple-overtime Game 4 thriller between the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers — did you consume a couple extra cups of coffee yesterday morning? — it’s time to take a look closer look at the contest.
No, it’s not a recap as THW’s own Josh Kim already did a great job of breaking it down, but rather a look at some of craziest stats and most notable numbers to come out of the game that culminated with the Jets completing a stunning sweep of a heavily-favoured opponent and advancing to the second round.
106 minutes and 52 seconds — The Length of the Game
It was the longest game in Jets’ 2.0 history, easily beating the previous record of 85:37 set in the Jets’ Game 2, second-overtime, second-round loss to the Nashville Predators on April 29, 2018.
The game was also the first of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs to go to triple overtime.
62:07 — Darnell Nurse’s Time on Ice
That’s right, the Edmonton Oilers’ top defender spent more than an entire regulation game length on the ice by the time Kyle Connor potted the game-winner at 6:52 of the third extra frame.
Jokes abounded on Twitter about Nurse being an “essential worker.” Oilers’ head coach Dave Tippett stapled his third d-pairing of Ethan Bear and Slater Koekkoek to the bench after Bear coughed up a brutal turnover that led to Mark Schiefele’s third-period game-tying goal, meaning much more ice time for Nurse and partner Tyson Barrie.
It was the third-highest time-on-ice ever recorded since the NHL started tracking the stat in 1998-99. In the first overtime, Nurse played 15:32, and at one point skated 4:47 straight before getting a WHOLE 47 seconds to recuperate before being sent over the boards again.
The Jets’ defenders’ time on ice was more balanced as head coach Paul Maurice utilized all three pairings. The highest was Josh Morrissey with a modest-in-comparison 41:54.
47 — Blocked Shots by the Jets
The fearless Jets did stepped in front of as many Oilers shots as possible, blocking a whopping 47 from reaching Connor Hellebuyck. That was more than double their second-highest total in the series (they blocked 22 blocks in Game 2.) Five of six Jets’ d-men had five-plus blocks.
“That was a really critical part to the game tonight,” Maurice said postgame. “(The Oilers) had good zone control and good possession control and they got the puck low to high an awful lot. The difference in the two games, and in us winning the games, was getting those blocks.”
The most notable block came when Blake Wheeler threw himself in front of a Kris Russell blast in the dying minutes of the third period with the game tied. Wheeler took the puck in a… shall we say… sensitive area.
Wheeler went straight to the room in a pain which many men can empathize with, but as one of the NHL’s toughest customers, he returned for overtime. Post-game, he delivered the type of quote that hockey writers dream of.
“I got three beautiful kids, we’re not having any more, so what the hell,” he deadpanned.
“I’m glad he’s got his kids… there’s the funny part of hockey, ’cause when I found out where it hit him, I was relieved because I thought it was his wrist,” Maurice joked.
Six — The Number of Seconds Harnarayan Singh Held Kyle Connor’s Name
Play-by-play man Harnarayan Singh is well-known for singing players’ names like a soccer announcer after they score big goals, and his call on Connor’s game-winner was no exception.
Singh didn’t stretch out Connor’s name for as long as he did Ehlers’ name (eight seconds) when the Dane scored the overtime winner in Game 3, but it was 1:30 a.m. and he’d been talking for four-plus hours so we’ll cut him some slack.
“Anyone know how many throat lozenges are okay to have in a span of 4 hours?!” he asked on Twitter after the first overtime.
One — The Number of Times the Jets Have Beaten the Oilers in a Playoff Series
When Connor’s shot found twine, a narrative died.
That narrative was that the NHL-era Jets had never beaten the Oilers in a playoff series. Grant Fuhr, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri et. al ran roughshod over the Jets 1.0 in the 1980s, beating them in the playoffs six times — in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, and 1990.
“If you were around Winnipeg in #NHLJets 1.0 era you know what it’s like to get your ass handed to you by Edmonton in the playoffs – this is glorious, #WeAreWPG” local sports radio personality Andrew “Hustler” Paterson tweeted after the game.
The fact it was a sweep made it even more glorious, but it’s a shame Dale Hawerchuk wasn’t around to see the jubilant victory in the wee hours at an empty Bell MTS Place. The Jets’ legend and hall-of-famer passed away last August from stomach cancer at age 57.
“I’m thinking of Dale Hawerchuk right now. I like to think he’s smiling down on Winnipeg and our @NHLJets,” Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman tweeted after the game.
Jets Will Get Some Well-Deserved Down-Time, but There’s Plenty More Action to Come
With the sweep, the Jets will have plenty of time to rest up prior to their second-round matchup with either the Montreal Canadiens or the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s a series not many thought the Jets would be in, and one that will undoubtedly create more juicy storylines and notable numbers.