WINNIPEG - Over the past few days of practice, the Winnipeg Jets have devoted much of their time to improving the power play, spending upwards of 25 minutes per game day sharpening their alignment and repeating the drills, over and over, until they were done with surgical-like precision.
The Jets, after all, finished the 2015-16 campaign dead last in power-play proficiency, operating at just a 14.8 percent clip. Needless to say, it's been a point of emphasis for Jamie Kompon and the rest of the coaching staff throughout the first week at MTS Iceplex.
Tonight, their efforts paid off as the power play exploded for four goals on just five opportunities to power the Jets past the Edmonton Oilers 5-1.
"We had movement and we wanted to have that shot mentality," Assistant Coach Jamie Kompon said. "When you get your World Cup players back and they start snapping it around and getting pucks to the net, good things happen."
Two of those World Cup players, Mark Scheifele (1G, 3A) and Blake Wheeler (3A), combined for seven points, while Kyle Connor stayed hot, scoring his second goal in as many nights to pace the Jets offensively.
Video: POSTGAME | Jamie Kompon
After the Oilers jumped out to an early 5-1 lead on the shot clock, Adam Lowry struck for the game's opening goal at 8:39, converting a feed from Wheeler in front with a dribbler on goalie Cam Talbot. From there, it was all Winnipeg.
"We were snapping it around pretty good," Wheeler said. "It's nice to get that first one to go and to get some confidence in your sticks. From there I think we did a good job of what we were trying to do. We were aggressive and we got a couple good bounces that went our way.
"The power play - sure, it's great to score goals - but even a good power play clips at, what, 20 percent? So you're failing every four times out of five. You've got to be creating momentum and we didn't do a good enough job of that last year.
"It (the power play) looked really good tonight, but we're going to keep building on it."
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
Then, with 7:47 to play in the period, Scheifele and Joel Armia worked a give-and-go in the neutral zone before undressing the Oilers defence just inside the blue line. In alone after a great pass by Scheifele, Armia went backhand shelf to put the Jets up by two with their second PPG of the period.
"Obviously it's just preseason but hopefully that's indicative of what we can do this year," Scheifele said.
Toby Enstrom gave the Jets a three-goal lead at 2:53 of the second, finding twine with a floater from the far boards after the puck jarred free from traffic.
The Oilers got one back with under five to play as Oscar Klefbom stuffed a wraparound short side on Michael Hutchinson, who made 33 saves in the win.
Scheifele and Connor rounded out the scoring goals late in the third period, the latter finishing off a great pass by No. 55 from his patented spot below the right circle.
"It was a lot of fun. It's easy playing with those two guys, they're two great players and you can definitely see it out there," Connor said of his linemates. "(Scheifele) saw me, he's a great player and was going to make the right play. I was just ready if it came to me."
LATE HITS: Dustin Byfuglien left the game late in the first period and did not return with a lower-body injury. Kompon said following the game that the defenceman was kept out for precautionary reasons and he is not expected to miss any time.
Patrik Laine made his NHL preseason debut, finishing with one shot and two scoring chances in 13:57 of ice time.
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com