After slow start, Oil Kings shut down Winterhawks, win 3-2
The tally has risen to 7-0, Portland outscoring Edmonton in the first period of three Western Hockey League championship series games.
But the Winterhawks let a two-goal first-period lead slip away Tuesday at Rexall Place, as the the host Oil Kings rallied to win 3-2 in Game 3 on Edgars Kulda's third-period goal.
Edmonton goalie Tristan Jarry, who has given up the seven first-period Portland goals, shut out the Winterhawks for the final 56:30 of Tuesday's game, after quick first-period goals by Chase De Leo (2:38) and Matthew Dumba (3:30) on two of the first three shots.
Jarry stopped 15 shots in the final period, including Dumba from point-blank range as Portland scrambled to tie with an extra attacker in the final 1:21.
Portland still leads the best-of-seven series 2-1 heading into Game 4, 6 p.m. PT at Rexall Place. A Game 5 will be played Friday night at Moda Center.
Edmonton, which outshot Portland 38-37 and also had a goal disallowed in Game 3, now has some hope in the series.
"I give Edmonton credit for how they responded" to the early deficit, said Mike Johnston, Portland general manager and coach. "They settled the game down.
"It's not that we took a step back. They took a step forward."
Said De Leo: "It's hard to play in Edmonton."
Edmonton coach Derex Laxdal's team has allowed five of its seven first-period goals in the first 3 1/2 minutes. He opted not to call a timeout after Dumba made it 2-0.
"Let the guys sink or swim," he said, about his thinking. "They swam. They took the onus on being down 2-0 and didn't give up. There wasn't any panic on the bench. We had a lot of game left."
Said Kulda: "We started to compete much harder, and take the game over."
Henrik Samuelsson scored on the power play at 4:11 of the second period, and then Luke Bertolucci tied it 2-2 at 11:04. Later, a goal was disallowed, which would have put Edmonton ahead.
Instead, the Oil Kings, who had settled the game down with their structure and defense, went ahead 3-2 at 13:13 of the third period, when Mitch Moroz held the puck in the offensive zone, carried the puck toward the side of Portland goalie Corbin Boes and fed Kulda for the game-winning tally.
"Mitch did everything, I just put my stick on it," Kulda, a native of Riga, Latvia.
The Oil Kings killed three Portland power play attempts in the third period and have killed all eight Portland power plays in the past two games. "I liked the looks we had (on power plays)," Johnston said. "We just didn't convert."
Jarry sealed the game with his late play, finishing with 35 saves and, again, holding the Hawks scoreless in the final 56:30.
"We had a lot of chances," De Leo said.
"We bent a lot, we didn't break," Laxdal said. "Tristan was outstanding."
Portland lost its fourth game since Jan. 11, all on the road and has a 42-4 record since then.
Edmonton moved to 9-0 at home in the playoffs.
"We're resilient," Bertolucci said. "We knew we were coming back to our barn. We had to refocus and reenergize."