EDMONTON, Alberta - Connor McDavid scored twice - one on the power play and the other shorthanded - to lead the Oilers to a 5-2 win over the Jets on Thursday at the newly opened Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton.
The Oilers built a 2-0 lead on the strength of two power-play goals before Brandon Tanev cut the deficit in half midway through the second period. McDavid then restored the two-goal advantage with a shorthanded marker at 3:51 of the third, turning the tide for good.
After Tyler Myers had his weapon abandon him on a one-time attempt at the blue line, McDavid was off the races, making no mistake with a quick shot, top shelf on Connor Hellebuyck.
Mark Letestu and Tyler Pitlick added two more in the front half of the third, while Bryan Little responded late for the Jets. Kyle Connor picked up the assist.
"There was value here today," Head Coach Paul Maurice said. "I'm not spending a whole lot of time concerning myself with some of the things in that game, but one or two players I thought were pretty good. There were things that they did that lead me to believe that they can read at a higher-paced game."
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
The Jets went 0-for-6 on the power play, which included back-to-back shorthanded goals against in the third period.
"I thought 5-on-5 we played a pretty decent game. We had some chances," Little said. "They might have been a little quicker than us to loose pucks, but the big thing tonight was the special teams. That was the first game of the preseason where we've had an off night. … I thought when we got (the power play) set up we had some good looks, but you can't say you had a good night when you give up two shorthanded goals."
Video: POSTGAME | Bryan Little
McDavid opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 5:15 of the first period. After the Jets turned the puck over in the neutral zone, McDavid took a drop pass from Jordan Eberle on the right side before cutting to the middle and firing a shot high, blocker side on Hellebuyck.
The Jets came within milliseconds of tying it on a power play of their own late in the opening frame, but Byfuglien's point shot entered the net (off the face of an Oilers defender) after time had expired.
Shot on goal favoured the Oilers 11-10 after one, but the Jets finished the period on a 9-2 run, and were completely in control from the 10-minute mark on.
Patrick Maroon put the Oilers up by two with a nifty PPG early in the second. The forward jumped a loose puck after Ben Chiarot fumbled the faceoff win and then bowled his way to the net, stuffing the puck around the outstretched pad of the netminder.
Moments later, former UND star Drake Cagguila was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down on a partial break. Caggiula went for the quick shot blocker side, but coolly turned aside by Hellebuyck.
Tanev cut the deficit to one on a breakaway with eight-and-a-half to play in the middle frame. Showing great speed up the middle, the winger easily won a foot race with Oilers defenceman Eric Gryba before plunging a shot five-hole.
"It's nice to get that first one," Tanev said. "As the games have gone on, I've been getting more confident and I'm starting to build some chemistry with my linemates. ... I think I played well; there's still some things I need to work on, but I just need to continue to play with energy, play smart and physical when I can."
Video: POSTGAME | Brandon Tanev
Tanev has played so well all preseason and has had several chances to show for it, but until now, there were zeroes on the score sheet. There's no doubt this goal will go a long way to determining his future over the next week.
"He's played very, very well - but not unlike the four (sic - it was three) games he played for us late last year," Maurice said. "He's played the exact same game every time he's touched the ice. He looks a little stronger and a little faster now after a good summer of training, but he's had a good camp."
The goal was scored on Cam Talbot, not Jonas Gustavsson, as 'The Monster' left the game briefly to repair a broken skate blade, which cost Dustin Byfuglien a goal earlier in the period.
After McDavid put the Oilers up 3-1 early in the third, Letestu extended the lead - with yet another shorty - on a breakaway just one minute and one second later.
"You don't even have to make a lot of mistakes," Maurice said of McDavid, who named the Oilers captain - the youngest captain in NHL history, in fact - just yesterday. "You just have to give a big enough lane and he's going to finish on those.
"Brilliant, brilliant player."
Pitlick put Edmonton up 5-1 at 9:31, and Little rounded out the scoring to seal a 5-2 final at 15:52.
The final shots were 32-24 in favour of the Oilers.
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com