A slow two periods culminated in a third period offensive outburst as the Winnipeg Jets and New York Islanders slugged it out in the final twenty minutes, netting a combined five goals while setting up an overtime frame to break the 4-4 tie.
Winnipeg controlled most of the play throughout the game's early stages, but multiple failed powerplay opportunities and a late flurry led by Islanders forwards John Tavares and Matt Moulson completely rewrote the storyline from a hard-nosed Jets' victory to a collapse of epic proportions.
The 15,004 hometown fans gritted their teeth as a 2-1 lead to start the third period quickly evaporated thanks to at-times dominant shifts from Tavares and company.
It seemed that the Islanders were using a strategy which the Jets had honed over their past two wins; the Isles lulled the Jets into a false sense of security and, as they took their foot off the proverbial gas pedal, New York went on an attack that blew the game wide open for the road team.
However, full credit to the Jets, they didn't pack up camp and head home with their tail between their legs -- a trait they might have exhibited if this were still the 2011-12 season.
Instead, they clawed their way back from a two-goal deficit with goals from Dustin Byfuglien and Alexander Burmistrov, squaring the game away at 4-4 and waking up the MTS Centre faithful after their half-period snooze.
In overtime, Evander Kane would play the role of hero once again, salting away Winnipeg's third straight win by knocking an Olli Jokinen rebound home for a 5-4 victory.
"We didn't quit when we didn't get off to the start we wanted in the third period", said Kane who now has goals in each of his last three games. "But we were able to get a powerplay goal of our own and then Burmi made a hell of a play to make it 4-4."
Al Montoya had a shaky night, although most of his shortcomings were the direct result of turnovers or porous defensive play. Fortunately for the Jets' back-up netminder, he was able to secure a win against his former teammates in his first action of the year.
"It's a great organization over there", said Montoya after the win. "But at the same time, anytime you leave an organization, you want to take it to them as much as you can. They played a good game and I'm just lucky my team rallied around me and we came out with a win."
The Islanders will no doubt see this evening's effort as one that got away. Despite falling behind on the scoreboard to start the third period, they did stage a monumental comeback that should have culminated in more than just one point in the standings.
"Hopefully this is a big learning lesson for us", said a frustrated Colin McDonald after the loss.
Matt Moulson realized that there were far too many mistakes in order for the Isles to secure a much needed road win to start this week's action.
"They have some great players who are going to capitalize on chances", said Moulson. "We gave them too many chances that eventually ended up in the back of our net".
For a disgruntled New York Islanders club, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov knows they can't dwell on tonight's performance and instead must look to correct their mistakes before visiting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.
"We just have to regroup, get better and move on."