The Roseau, Minn., product scored two goals, added an assist, thrilled Bell MTS Place with a celebratory dance and led the charge as his Winnipeg Jets rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the first period to beat the Nashville Predators 7-4 in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series. It is harder still to beat the fans.
The Winnipeg Jets teammates began their full-time National Hockey League careers in 2013-14, when Trouba was a budding defenceman and Scheifele a big, skilled centre who thrived on studying the intricacies of the game. When Winnipeg's power play time finally ended and Rinne went to the bench for the extra attacker, the Jets tacked on two empty-net goals to make it a 7-4 final.
Down 3-0 after a disastrous opening 20 minutes, there was no flipping of tables or peeling of paint off the walls in the Winnipeg Jets' locker room.
But it was the Predators who self-destructed with consecutive minor penalties to Game 2 overtime hero Kevin Fiala (tripping), P.K. Subban (high sticking) and goalie Pekka Rinne (slashing) with his best impersonation of Manitoban Ron Hextall to give the Jets three power plays in a row.
The Nashville Predators entered the MTS center and shut the crowd down early.
Winnipeg has been a good offensive team in the playoffs as they come in ranked 5th in scoring at 3.43 gpg, while also ranking 6th in shots taken (34.0 spg) and 6th in power play conversions, converting on 23.5% of their chances.
Winnipeg made it 3-1 at the 2:38 mark of the second period when Paul Stastny had a shot from Jacob Trouba deflect off his skate and into the net.
The onslaught could've been on right then, but the Predators fought back in the third period with a handsome power play wrister from Filip Forsberg that tied the game with 12:20 to go.
He saw the puck straight on and it dipped under his arm.
And yet, there is an unmistakable feeling you get when you start to hang around a team at this time of year, that moment when you start to see a championship squad burgeoning before your eyes, flexing its muscles and finding its path. Wheeler roofed a wrister from the bottom edge of the right circle. "It's just like Nashville; it's a loud arena with passionate fans".
Byfuglien and Wheeler lead the Jets to a huge comeback win, Ovechkin is the difference for the Capitals in Game Three and more in Scott Cullen's Statistically Speaking.
There is a fine margin in a best-of-seven series between two great teams. If head coach Peter Laviolette chooses to rest him, however, Nashville might turn to Juuse Saros (12-16-7), who has a.927 save percentage and 2.36 goals against average this year.
But whatever it was, it was gone in just over five minutes of the second period. Blake Wheeler scored his second of the postseason of a rebound and the Jets restored the lead. In Sunday's 5-4 victory in double overtime, the Predators fiery defenceman logged almost 40 minutes.
But it was Fisher, Subban and Austin Watson who sparked their club to the lead, until Winnipeg replied with a big pushback in the second. Patrik Laine, the Jets lean forward, tripped Ryan Hartman 36 seconds later to prevent a break-away. They then went ahead before the intermission on Byfuglien's second goal of the game.
Realistically, though, Fiala shouldn't have been considered a long shot to score the victor. Fisher barely missed another when he bounced a puck off the right post. He had two goals and an assist, three hits and a ton of ferocity. If the Preds get the win, though, I guess it's okay they lost the lead three times.
Honestly, when I came in the building Tuesday night, it felt strangely subdued, with a little less of the energy the fans provided in the first round of the playoffs.