By Scott Edmonds, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG – Pre-season or not, if they wanted validation for signing Jussi Jokinen the Edmonton Oilers got it Wednesday night.
Jokinen had a goal and two assists as Edmonton beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 in pre-season action.
“He’s a left-handed version of me'” Mark Letestu said with a grin. “He’s good in the shootout, plays in all situations. When you watch him it just screams veteran player… He’s done a good job fitting in. He’s a good piece for us.”
Three second-period goals — two within 13 seconds of each other — locked it down for Edmonton (3-0-0).
Jokinen set up the first and scored the last, as well as assisted on an empty-netter in the third. The Jets now sit at 0-1-1.
“Our legs really weren’t there in the first period,” said Letestu, who got things rolling for the Oilers 2:14 into the second period with his power-play goal.
“That power-play goal kind of settled us down, got us back in it.”
Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said he liked the leadership his veterans provided.
“I liked the overall effort from our group,” he said. “When you play these types of games there’s some tough circumstances when you fly in an hour before you play.”
The Jets dominated the first period, outshooting the Oilers 11-4.
It paid off when Nikolaj Ehlers took a cross-crease pass from Tyler Myers, after linemate Bryan Little let it slip by, to put his team on the board with a power-play goal at 5:34.
“I thought our penalty kill after the first one did a real good job,” said McLellan. “For this time of year to have those types of results we have to be somewhat pleased, but we still have a long way to go.”
The second was all Edmonton and a tough debut for veteran netminder Steve Mason, who was signed by the Jets in the off-season.
“We didn’t play the same game as we did in the first, that’s how easy it is,” said Ehlers.
“We didn’t play hard enough, couldn’t get enough shots to the net, not enough traffic.”
Just 13 seconds after Letetsu’s goal, Jujhar Khaira added another on a feed from Zack Kassian, and Jokinen then scored his on a power play at 13:59.
The Oilers had what looked like another goal waved off for a kicking motion. Kailer Yamamoto scored the last goal into an empty net with five seconds left in regulation.
Goaltending has been a weak link for the Jets since they relocated to Winnipeg from Atlanta in 2011. Mason joined a pair of far less experienced netminders, Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson, after the Jets decided not to keep Ondrej Pavelec.
Jets coach Paul Maurice didn’t fault him for the goals he let in.
“He made all the stops that I would expect him to stop,” said Maurice, who also said he wasn’t overly troubled by the failure to turn chances into goals.
“Our offensive game isn’t something that we’ve spent a whole lot of time on right now but we’ll get it down.”
Maurice said the next couple of games will have a younger lineup as the Jets try to decide who will make their bottom six forwards.
The Jets weren’t without firepower Wednesday, dressing their top seven scorers from last season, just as they did in Monday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Minnesota: Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine, Ehlers, Dustin Byfuglien, Little and Mathieu Perreault.
Maurice says Little and Scheifele won’t be going to Minnesota Thursday.
The top lines shot a lot but other than ringing the goalposts a few times got little for it. Winnipeg outshot Edmonton 34-25.
The Oilers got another good look at their first-round pick Yamamoto, who took the right side on a line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jokinen.
With defenceman Andrej Sekera out with a long-term knee injury, sophomore Matt Benning paired with veteran Kris Russell for their debut this season. The Oilers split goaltending duties between Brossoit and Nick Ellis.