Tomas Jurco and Ethan Bear have solid outings with two goals apiece as the Oilers defeat the Jets 5-3 at Bell MTS Place
WINNIPEG, MB - As Oilers Head coach Dave Tippett said: "Knock-knock. Opportunity awaits."
He may have directed the message to Ethan Bear at the time but surely some of the Oilers Training Camp forwards were eavesdropping because Tomas Jurco rung on the doorbell against the Jets Thursday night at Bell MTS Place in the Oilers 5-3 win.
The Slovak needed just two periods to put his boot through Opportunity's door, scoring in the first period and adding an assist on a Connor McDavid power-play marker at 1:03 of the second.
In the third, he walked in, driving wide on the man advantage and putting the puck under goaltender Connor Hellebuyck's arm far side for what would stand as the game-winner.
"It was a good game for me," Jurco said post-game.
"The more comfortable I get, the better I play. I just feel good and I think it shows."
And as for Bear, getting up-close with Opportunity as Oscar Klefbom's partner, Coach Tippett said it best.
"He kicked the door open."
The former Seattle Thunderbird scored his first of the pre-season at 5:26 of the third to knot the game up at 3-3 then provided some insurance as he fired a slap shot that was redirected before going in to make it 5-3.
"Coming into the game, I was just focusing on doing the right things," Bear said.
"Making sure I was moving the puck and taking care of my own end. I was happy that I was able to contribute."
Bear and Jurco ended the night as the second and third stars, respectively, but many other Oilers hopefuls had solid outings.
Gaëtan Haas and Anton Burdasov each picked up helpers, while William Lagesson was a steady presence on the back end, playing 16:37.
In the blue paint, Mike Smith ended the night with 18 saves on 21 shots. His best stop was in the first period when he denied the Jets entry by kicking out Mathieu Perreault's one-timer and Jack Roslovic's follow-up.
Oilers Captain McDavid finished with the lone power-play strike and 20:04 of ice time. He was quick to offer praise for his teammates.
"Both those guys (Bear and Jurco) gave the coaching staff something to think of," No. 97 said. "Credit to them. They were both really good tonight. That competition is a good thing and we'll see how it plays out."
Tippett commented on how advantageous certain players were on the night.
"You can present opportunity but it's what people do with it," he said. "A couple of guys really took advantage of that tonight."
The bench boss articulated what he liked about Jurco's game: "He recognizes that he's got to be a good two-way player. Play a smart game and try to help his linemates. That's what he did tonight."
The Oilers will conclude their pre-season schedule Saturday on the road against the Calgary Flames. Fans can watch the game on EdmontonOilers.com and Facebook. Puck drop is at 7:08 PM MST.