Yes! Yes! Yes! … the irony.
Back in 2017, Jordan Eberle was a member of the Edmonton Oilers, scoring zero playoff goals in 13 games. Tuesday night, back in Edmonton but as a member of the New York Islanders, he kept alive the dreams of his current team’s Stanley Cup with the game-winning 2-1 in overtime.
“The boys fought hard tonight,” Eberle said after the game. “Obviously, marking that and continuing to move and giving us another chance in a couple of days is huge.”
The Islanders entered Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Rings 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. Defender Ryan Pulock broke the ice – and an 18-game losing streak – in the first period on the power play. In the middle frame, Victor Hedman tied things up and then the point was silenced.
Both teams exploited the goose in the third, then the game headed to overtime. And then another. And it looked like he was heading for a third until less than eight minutes into the period. After a shot blown by Kevin Shattenkirk of the Lightning, Anders Lee and Eberle were shot 2-to-1. The Island captain then took the step to Eberle who buried him to keep his team alive.
Eberle has the knowledge to score great goals on Canadian soil.
In 2009 at the IIHF Junior World Championships in Ottawa, he scored “The Goal” against Russia with 5.4 seconds left in regulation to tie the semifinal match. Canada eventually won in a shootout – where he also scored – and then won the gold medal game against the Swedes.
The following year, in his hometown of Regina, Sask., Canada trailed 5-3 in the U.S. gold medal game with three minutes left. He scored two goals in the final 2:49 to tie things, but the Americans had to win in overtime.
“It’s the biggest in a long time for sure,” Eberle said with a laugh and a big smile. “First we need to have the opportunity to do it. This team has fought hard to get where we are and we are not finished.”
“I think it’s just his behavior,” head coach Barry Trotz said of Eberle’s big game market. “He puts a lot of pressure on himself sometimes when he doesn’t score. He has a pretty high level of expectation that he puts himself in, but I think he just enjoys those moments.”
Tuesday’s goal was only the sixth of the postseason for Eberle after he scored 16 during the regular season. And while he didn’t score any playoff goals for the Oilers, he did score 165 in 507 games for the Edmonton hometown team – and a key for the Islanders at Rogers Place, which, by the way, guard Semyon Varlamov celebrated with style.