Neither the Edmonton Oilers nor the Winnipeg Jets want a replay of Monday’s flurry of goals allowed.
The Jets upended the host Oilers 6-5 in a goal-fest that left both teams hankering for a better defensive performance in the rematch Thursday at Edmonton.
Score that many goals? Sure. Give up that many goals? No, thanks.
“Anytime you give up six, it’s obviously not a great night,” Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie said. “We left (goalie Mike Smith) out to dry there early and we tried to claw back, but it was just not a good enough defensive game from us, and we just made some mistakes that cost us.”
Blake Wheeler scored the winning goal at 6:22 of the third period after Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, Mason Appleton, Nikolaj Ehlers and Mathieu Perreault each scored once for the Jets. Scheifele and Neal Pionk added two assists apiece.
Alex Chiasson and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each scored twice for the Oilers with Kailer Yamamoto adding one goal. Barrie, Connor McDavid and Evan Bouchard had two helpers each.
McDavid’s secondary assist on Nugent-Hopkins’ second goal was his 499th point in 368 NHL games. Only two active players have reached 500 points in fewer than 400 games, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins (369) and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (373).
Down 4-1 midway through the second, the Oilers clawed back to a 5-5 tie with three goals in the second and Nugent-Hopkins’ marker in the third. However, they gave the game away when left winger Dominik Kahun coughed up the puck at his own blue line for Wheeler’s game-winner.
“We tied it up and we just gave it right back to them,” Barrie said. “We gave up six goals, and you’re not going to win many games when you give up six. That’s got to be our focus. We want to be a fun team to watch, an exciting team and score some goals, but we also want to be able to lock it down.”
The Jets, while happy with the win, weren’t entirely thrilled with their heart-attack style of play either.
“That’s a perfect example why coaches’ years and dog years are the same,” Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice said. “It was not a particularly well-played game. We can all agree on that, except the skill level in some parts of that was so extreme.”
Scheifele, who has four goals and seven assists during a seven-game point streak, admitted the win wasn’t pretty.
“There are things we want to tighten up, but all in all, we got the win,” he said. “That’s what we come here for is to get two points. We got that, so that’s really all that matters.”
Pionk played a gritty game to give the Jets the chance to win. The 25-year-old defenseman from Omaha, Neb., had a team-high four hits and blocked one shot in 24:47 of ice time.
“We played well enough well to win, but that doesn’t mean we played great either,” he said. “Our identity is playing hard and making short, simple passes. We will take that into the next game for sure, make sure we’re finishing checks and playing a little more simple.”
–Field Level Media