Top 5 Oilers Comebacks

Last season’s blown 2-0 series lead against Anaheim. The three-goal choke to Dallas in late 2014. The Manchester Miracle. The Oilers have been on the wrong end of some unfortunately memorable comebacks, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that they’ve been on the right end of some pretty great ones, too.

October 29, 2015: Oilers 4, Canadiens 3

Edmonton couldn’t manage to end the long playoff drought in 2015-16, but did record an unforgettable October comeback win against a Habs team that began the season 9-1-0 and were favored big at every Canadian online sportsbook. Meanwhile, the +225 underdog Oilers were losers of three straight and seven of the last 10 and fortunes looked as expected after falling behind 3-0 in the first period.

But in his season debut, Leon Draisaitl had other plans. The recent AHL callup rallied the comeback crew with a power play score late in the second. An inspired Brandon Davidson and Benoit Pouliot then each went on to score in the third. Tied 3-3 with just over 1:00 remaining, an aggressive forecheck then allowed none other than Draisaitl to score the dramatic comeback’s game winner.

October 7, 2013: Oilers 5, Devils 4 (OT)

The Oilers took their lumps in 2013-14, but still managed to score one of the most memorable comebacks in recent franchise history… In the fourth game of the season, they hosted New Jersey and quickly fell behind 3-0 by the time five minutes had passed in the second period.

Finally, Edmonton got on the board five minutes into the final frame thanks to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins capitalizing on a goalmouth scramble. This ignited the Oil, as Andrew Ference, David Perron, and Taylor Hall went on to score in the next eight minutes to take a 4-3 lead. After a Devils equalizer sent the game to OT, Jordan Eberle and Perron made the comeback official by scoring the de facto game winners in a shootout.

1998 Western Conference Quarterfinals

Occupying the West’s #7 seed for the second consecutive year, the Oilers looked poised to again pull off a big first round upset, this time against the Colorado club that eliminated them from the playoffs the year prior. After taking Game 1, the Oilers dropped the next three to face elimination in Game 5. There, two goals from Mike Grier led to a big 3-1 road win that gave the Oilers some momentum as the series headed back to Edmonton.

A 31-save Curtis Joseph shutout then allowed the Oilers to level the series in Game 6, setting up a Game 7 back in Denver. Another Cujo shutout performance, along with goals from Janne Niinimaa, Bill Guerin, Todd Marchant, and Mats Lindgren formed a perfect night for the Oilers as they yet again played the role of first round spoiler.

1997 Western Conference Quarterfinals

The Oilers made it into 1997 playoffs as a #7 seed, facing off against the Central Division Champion Stars in the first round. The two clubs traded wins in the first two games of the series, but in Game 3 it looked like Dallas was going to get a big road win of their own after going up 3-0 with less than 4:00 to play.

Doug Weight, Andrei Kovalenko, and Mike Grier all scored in a span of 1:56, miraculously sending the game to OT. There, Kelly Buchberger scored on a wicked wrister from the top of the circle that sealed the improbable comeback and a 2-1 series lead.

1990 Smythe Division Semi-Finals

Edmonton historically owned Winnipeg in the playoffs heading into this 1990 first round matchup. However It looked like that run was about to come an end when the Jets built a 3-1 series lead and led Game 5 by the same margin late in the second period.

Finally, the flow of play shifted back to the home Oilers when Craig Simpson scored on a counterattack to make it 3-2. Thirteen seconds later, Mark Lamb also scored to draw the game level just before intermission. Mark Messier continued the Oilers’ run by scoring early in the third, which reclaimed the momentum the Oilers needed to eventually go on to win the series in 7 and their fifth Stanley Cup in seven years.

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8 Responses to "Top 5 Oilers Comebacks"

  1. Ice Sage says:

    Honorable mention to Game 6 2006 First Round vs Detroit? Not a huge comeback, numbers-wise, but all the momentum of history was flowing against the Oil when Matthieu Schneider scored in the 3rd to give Detroit the lead…
    History inflected in the following 10 minutes!

  2. Lowetide says:

    Ice Sage:
    Honorable mention to Game 6 2006 First Round vs Detroit?Not a huge comeback, numbers-wise, but all the momentum of history was flowing against the Oil when Matthieu Schneider scored in the 3rd to give Detroit the lead…
    History inflected in the following 10 minutes!

    That was a crazy series. One of my all-time favorites.

  3. russ99 says:

    I’d put the Yakupov game (1/24/13) a close honorable mention, considering how the refs jobbed us, how Quick was unbeatable that night, and how much we hate the Kings.

    And of course the glorious celly.

  4. --hudson-- says:

    The Draisatl night always reminded me of the night Jochen Hecht had versus the Canadiens about 10 years prior.
    https://www.hockey-reference.com/boxscores/200201060EDM.html

    Remember when he was going to be our one-shot scorer?

  5. Patrick C says:

    Thank you — a fun list to look back on! What I mostly remember from the 1998 series against the Avs was that Colorado actually took the lead in that game 5 (Stephane Yelle, although I did have to go and look that up) before Grier’s heroics… and they didn’t score again for the rest of the series. A tremendous feat for the Oilers against that Avs team, even in the dead puck era!

  6. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – Re Talbot: WG says: “There have been 66 goalies play 3000+ minutes (all situations) over the last 5 seasons (including this one)
    Talbot ranks 5th with 0.893 GSAA/100”

    My spidey senses went off, so I pulled this up:

    – 2015: Talbot’s 1st year as starting goalie: his GSAA was 3.31 (27th)
    – 2016: Talbot’s 2nd year as starting goalie: his GSAA was 12.21 (9th)
    – 2017: Talbot’s current year as starting goalie: GSAA is -5.33 (54th in league)

    – Talbot, based on your preferred method for examining goalies, I am very confident in concluding he’s not a top-5 goalie. He is very very medicore goalie using your preferred method, if you value his performance on the team that he has been employed on as a starter

    – Adding back-up years allows you to conclude otherwise.

    – As a starting goalie, – Talbot is not a top-5 goalie using this stat.

    – I believe Talbot is a mediocre goalie, and we need him to be better (or get a better goalie), despite other things that ail this team. He’s not brutal, but he’s for sure replaceable.

    – More games like last night Talbot please: you got lucky with the posts but thats one of the few games in recent memory where you helped the team a lot to win one.

  7. PunjabiOil says:

    1991 OIlers/Flames Game 7 with Esa Tikkanen OT winner has to be on the list (I was too young to remember this)

    https://www.hockey-reference.com/boxscores/199104160CGY.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nE7vh_mMEhI

    Down 3-0 in the first and end up winning in overitme.

  8. Aitch says:

    A couple of personal stories on those comebacks:
    1) Draisaitl over MTL: The game happened on a Thursday night. So, the next morning I wore my Draisaitl jersey to work for casual Friday. Most Habs fans didn’t even realize that he had played the year before and couldn’t wrap their head around the fact that I had his jersey despite only being called up the day before.

    2) The win over Dallas. I was living in a University residence at the time and watching the game with our floor’s Resident Assistant. It was during exams and after the 2nd goal, I cheered so loudly that he laughingly threatened me with a noise violation fine. When they tied it up, he had no choice but fine me. He let me off with another when Buchy scored.

    I would also agree with Punjabioil about the Tikkanen comeback against the Flames. I had gone to bed after the first. Waking up to the win was a very pleasant surprise.

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