It has not been an easy start to the season, but the Winnipeg Jets are hoping the way they battled back on Saturday is a good sign of things to come.
Mark Scheifele scored at 3:53 of overtime as the Jets emerged with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in a game between two inconsistent squads.
Josh Morrissey sent the puck toward the net and it was redirected by Scheifele past Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner in the extra session.
“There was zero quit,” Scheifele said. “Going down early was tough, but we just kept on battling back. We didn’t try doing anything too crazy on one shift and just battled back.”
Morrissey and Vladislav Namestnikov also scored for the Jets, who improved to 2-3-0.
“You know what, obviously both teams feel that we’re better than our records show. Like I said, it’s early, for both (teams), four games in but there comes a time where you’ve got to start putting your money where your mouth is and winning games and getting points,” Morrissey said.
“A huge win for us and it’s nice to get a little validation, to see a win in the win column when we feel we’ve been playing well. It’s nice to get a result. That’s one and we’ve got to build on it.”
Darnell Nurse and Evan Bouchard replied for the Oilers (1-3-1) who have lost two straight.
“We are just too up and down, not consistent enough right now,” said Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, who had a pair of assists. “It feels like every mistake we make ends up in the back of our net. We have lots of things to fix.
“It is very frustrating, of course. Our plan was to get off to a good start and we haven’t been able to find that. It is frustrating.”
There was additional cause for concern for the Oilers as star forward Connor McDavid missed the late stages of the third period and did not participate in the overtime session, although he remained on the bench. The Oilers captain appeared to be experiencing back pain.
“It appeared to be muscular more than anything as I watched the play,” said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft. “We’ll have more information (later). When he wasn’t available down the stretch and in overtime, it was an opportunity for others to step up.
“I thought it was more him coming up the ice and just something felt off for him. That’s what it looked like from the bench, but I’ve got to rewatch the tape.”
The Oilers had a quick start to the game, scoring just 1:25 into the contest. McDavid dropped the puck to a pinching Nurse, who beat Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck glove-side for Edmonton’s first goal by a defenceman this season.
They got their second by a blueliner six minutes into the opening period thanks to their potent power play as Draisaitl swung a pass back to Bouchard, who stepped into a bullet for his first of the campaign.
The Jets responded with a power-play marker of their own midway through the first, as Morrissey unleashed a bomb of a slap shot through traffic that beat Skinner.
Winnipeg tied the game with a short-handed goal with 1:39 remaining in the second period as Skinner gambled by coming way out of his net to play a puck and lost the puck to Alex Iafallo, allowing Namestnikov to bank a shot off of defender Mattias Ekholm’s skate and into the empty net.
There was no scoring in the third period, with Edmonton leading 37-23 on the shot clock heading into extra time.
It was the first of three games between the two teams this season and the lone game in Edmonton. The next time these teams meet will be Nov. 30 in Winnipeg. … McDavid extended his home scoring streak to 23 games, while Draisaitl’s similar streak sits at 17. … The Oilers dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen. … Nate Schmidt returned to the Winnipeg blue line after sitting out the last game for Logan Stanley’s season debut. … Hellebuyck has not looked like himself thus far. The veteran Jets goalie is off to a career-worst start, coming into the game with an .843 save percentage and a 4.38 goals-against average in three appearances. … Edmonton has now gone without a third-period goal in their first five contests.
Both teams return to action on Tuesday as the Jets play host to the St. Louis Blues and the Oilers are in Minnesota to play the Wild.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2023.
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