The Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers put up a combined 11 goals on Monday, with six coming in the second period alone. Despite calling the game one that was “not particularly well-played,” Jets’ head coach Paul Maurice did eventually see his team pick up the victory in a back-and-forth scoring affair.
“That’s a perfect example of why coaches years and dog years are the same,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice said post-game. “The lives lost on the bench tonight between Dave Tippett and myself… it was not a particularly well-played game. We can all agree on that. Except, the skill level in some parts of that were so extreme.”
Earning a 6-5 win over the always-offensive Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the Oilers was in large part due to the play of Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor and Neal Pionk, who each put up multi-point outings. Netminder Connor Hellebuyck also turned aside 40 shots in the victory Monday.
“I don’t think that’s the way the coaches drew it up, or maybe even the goaltenders,” Kyle Connor added. “But it sure made for some great hockey to watch. Definitely more fun on the winning side. They were trailing in the second and started really opening it up, and we let off the gas for a bit. You do that with any team, especially the type of players they have over there and they’re going to put a couple in your net.”
The Jets opened the scoring on a Mark Scheifele power play marker exactly 6:30 into the opening frame on a perfect cross-ice feed from captain Blake Wheeler. With the goal, Scheifele extended his point-scoring streak to seven games. But shortly thereafter, Alex Chiasson found his first goal of the season off a strong setup play from Devin Shore.
Kyle Connor put Winnipeg back in the lead after an offensive zone puck bobble left Oilers’ defencemen discombobulated just 1:47 afterr the Chiasson strike. The Jets’ young winger collected the loose puck and ripped it top corner, blocker side past Mike Smith. Although falling behind the home team 14-8 in the shot department, Winnipeg held on for a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes of play.
It was in the second period that the game really got going, from an offensive standpoint. Combining for six goals in the segment, the Jets received goals from Mason Appleton, Nikolaj Ehlers and Mathieu Perreault, while the Oilers responded with strikes from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Kailer Yamamoto and another tally from Alex Chiasson.
After falling behind 4-1 lead 2:31 into the second, Oilers’ head coach Dave Tippett yanked starter Smith from the net for Mikko Koskinen, who allowed four goals on just 11 Jets shots. Koskinen fared much better in relief. Through 40 minutes, the Jets maintained a 5-4 lead, despite trailing heavily in the shot department (36-17).
After that six-goal outburst of a second period, things tightened up in the later stages of the third, but only after each team found another goal in the early going. The Nuge collected his second of the game just 2:55 into the period, knotting the game at fives, before Blake Wheeler gave the Jets their final lead of the contest.
Off a Mark Scheifele steal, the Jets regained possession of the puck in the Oilers zone 6:22 into the period. Scheifele found defenceman Josh Morrissey who hammered a one-timer on net. With Wheeler taking away Koskinen’s eyes on the shot, he also got his stick on the puck, redirecting it past the Edmonton keeper and into the net for what would be the eventual game-winner.
Although handily outshooting Winnipeg, the Oilers could not find yet another game-tying marker, ultimately losing 6-5 to the Jets, despite finishing with a 45-24 shot advantage. Hellebuyck, although allowing five goals, stopped 40 of 45 shots and earned his seventh win of the season.
The Jets and Oilers will go at it again from Rogers Place on Wednesday at 9:00 PM central in the second of two-straight meetings between the North Division clubs. Now sitting at 9-5-1 through 15 games, Winnipeg has begun a stretch of 22 games in which 16 are on the road. Wednesday’s game can be viewed live on TSN.