By The Canadian Press
The Edmonton Oilers might not have like their start, but they might be bigger fans of their finish.
Leon Draisaitl scored the game-winning goal with less than a second left to give the Edmonton Oilers a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets Sunday night at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg.
“I thought we had a couple of chances at the end there,” Draisaitl said after the game. “But, obviously, we got a nice fortunate one at the end.”
As a late Edmonton power play expired, Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid tried to move the puck around the Winnipeg net. He then passed the puck back to the reigning Hart Trophy winner, who fired the puck past Jets goalie Laurent Brossoit with fractions of a second left.
Brossoit says he couldn’t really track the shot as his teammate, Andrew Copp, slid in front of him to help protect the net.
“I didn’t think he could go five-hole, considering (Copp) was on the ground,” Brossoit said. “So, I was just trying to track the puck up high and it went, obviously, underneath.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Kyle Turris, and Kailer Yamamoto also scored for Edmonton. Adam Lowry, Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler scored for the Jets.
The game featured both starting goalies making over 30 saves. Mikko Koskinen made 35 saves in a winning effort for the Oilers (3-4-0), while Laurent Brossoit made 34 saves.
Winnipeg’s loss snaps a three-game winning streak (4-2-0). All three victories came against the Ottawa Senators.
For the third consecutive game, the Jets scored first. Adam Lowry scored after taking a pass from Mathieu Perreault while in the slot. He wasted no time to fire on net, beating Koskinen. Lowry’s goal was his third of the season.
The referees overturned a would-be Jets goal nearly three minutes later. Andrew Copp deflected a puck above Koskinen and into the back of the net. But the referees determined there was interference after Copp’s stick kept Koskinen’s glove from making the save.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice both believed Copp’s goal should have stood.
“It’s a goal, I mean, for me,” Maurice said. “I think the puck’s past his glove and I’m not even sure there was contact. (The referees) felt it was close. So, there’s no argument.”
The Oilers entered the first intermission down a goal, a less-than-ideal start for Turris.
“We were playing like crap,” Turris said. “They came out and they had played late last night and they just jumped on us from the start and dominated the period. We were playing like crap and we had to turn it around.”
It took the Oilers 21 seconds to tie the game as they entered the second period, thanks to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Later in the period, Turris scored his first as an Oiler after taking a pass from forward Zack Kassian.
Turris unloaded a shot into the top-right corner of the net to give Edmonton its first lead of the night with 5:42 left to play in the period. James Neal also grabbed an assist on the play.
One minute and 18 seconds later, Winnipeg forward Kyle Connor was injured. He was defending a shot from Oilers defenceman Ethan Bear.
The puck ricocheted off Connor’s stick and into his face, causing him to fall to his knees onto the ice. He would leave the game and would sit out the remainder of the period, only to return in time for the third.
Ehlers tied the game at two goals apiece with 6:04 left to go in the third period. It was the fourth consecutive game where Ehlers scored a goal for his team.
“I feel good,” Ehlers said. “I think that the last three games I’ve really been able to use my speed in the right moments. I’ve been trying to shoot the puck more.”
Wheeler later gave the Jets the lead once more with a power play goal, thanks to a tripping infraction taken by Edmonton Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse. Wheeler took a pass along the goal line and banked the puck off Oilers defenceman Kris Russell and past Koskinen into the goal.
Winnipeg’s lead wouldn’t last that long, however.
Yamamoto tied the game one minute and 48 seconds later, setting up a wild finish. A late Dylan DeMelo high-sticking penalty would give the Oilers the man-advantage until the final seconds of the third period.
The game would eventually end on Draisaitl’s late winner at even strength, giving the Jets no time to respond.
Edmonton and Winnipeg will renew hostilities at the Bell MTS Place Tuesday night.