The 5-5-0 Winnipeg Jets beat the first-place Edmonton Oilers (7-1-1) 1-0 in a shootout Sunday evening from Bell MTS Place, in what very well may have been the most entertaining no-goal 65 minutes of hockey played in Manitoba’s capital, in recent memory.
Sunday’s game was a rarity, as both starting netminders Mike Smith and Connor Hellebuyck collected shutouts, after maintaining clean sheets through regulation and overtime. The Oilers’ backstop turned aside 23 Jets shots, while Hellebuyck stopped all 28 Edmonton shots that came his direction.
Connor McDavid and the Oilers were kept in check, as those hoping to see a high-scoring affair from the league’s best team and arguably very best player, certainly did not get their wish. A slow, grind-it-out opening period dictated the pace of the game for the better part of 60 minutes.
Winnipeg welcomed veteran forward Bryan Little back to the lineup Sunday, after the 31-year-old suffered a concussion in a preseason game against the Minnesota Wild on September 29. He finished the game with two shots on net, a hit and two blocks in 16:17 of icetime.
The opening 40 minutes of the game were a complete wash, as neither the Jets nor Oilers were able to find anything consistent in the form of offence. With goal scoring out of the picture, one might have thought the attention would turn to physicality, but the fisticuffs were also nowhere to be seen.
Winnipeg managed just two shots on goal in the first period, while Edmonton didn’t do much better, registering seven. The opening frame shot totals were largely affected by missed/blocked shots, while the second period was dominated by strong goaltending performances. The Jets added 10 shots in the frame, while Edmonton put up just eight, bring the totals to 15-12 for the visitors through 40 minutes of play.
The third period was another scoreless affair, laced with a handful of quality scoring chances. Jets defenceman Carl Dahlstrom thought he had his first career NHL marker, only to have what most gathered at Bell MTS Place thought was the game’s opening goal midway through the third period overturned. Following a Dave Tippett challenge, it was deemed that the zone entry leading into Dahlstrom’s wrist shot was offside, negating Winnipeg’s go-ahead marker.
Time ran out on regulation, leading to an exceptionally high-paced extra frame. Chance after chance for both the visiting and home teams ensued, in a full five-minute period of scoreless hockey. A shootout was required to find a winner, with Winnipeg capitalizing on both its attempts.
Following a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins miss, Kyle Connor scored on the Jets’ first attempt. Connor McDavid lost the handle on the Oilers’ second attempt, before Patrik Laine sealed the deal for Winnipeg, beating Mike Smith, handing the Jets a 1-0 shootout victory.
Paul Maurice earned career win No. 700 Sunday, ranking him seventh on the all-time list. He is also third place amongst active NHL coaches in terms of wins.
The Jets will next see action when they host the Los Angeles Kings in their final game of a five-game homestand, in which Winnipeg holds a record of 1-3-0. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM central. The game can be viewed live on TSN3.