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Nurse on changing the pace

by Meg Tilley @MegsTilley /

It was an opportunity for the Winnipeg Jets to take the lead as the Oilers went on the penalty kill after defenceman Darnell Nurse headed to the box for cross-checking Jets forward Shawn Matthias. 

With the game still scoreless, Edmonton was now down one man on the ice. It wasn't an advantageous moment for the Oilers. 

"It was a roller coaster I think," said Nurse. "You sit in the box, you don't want the other team to score while you're in the box, and then [Mark Letestu] scored the big goal there, in the middle of it."

Midway through the power play, Oilers forward Mark Letestu intercepted a pass that was on track to make it to the stick of Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, who fumbled on the recovery and missed the puck when trying to send it back into Edmonton's defensive zone. 

Letestu took off like a shot, bearing down on Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and scoring a short-handed goal for a 1-0 lead. 

As the Oilers returned to play out the remainder of penalty kill, Nurse made up for his two-minute "time out". Released from the box at what can only be considered as perfect timing, the blueliner joined ranks with Connor McDavid - who was already advancing into the Jet's end - for a two on one.   

"Connor had the puck and I just wanted to get open and get a good shot off," said Nurse.

And a good shot, indeed, as Nurse buried a snap shot past Hellebuyck, giving Edmonton a 2-0 lead. 

What may have been a long-awaited, jittery start for the Oilers - who had to wait two additional hours before the ice was deemed playable - turned into highly celebrated 3-0 victory at the 2016 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic. 

"I think the first five minutes, probably for everyone kind of taking in the moment, but once the game settles in it just feels like another game," said Nurse. 

"We knew, two points, at the end of the day, once we stepped on the ice, that's what we went there to get. The experience itself was incredible, but once that puck drops it seems like, no matter where you are, it just turns into a game." 

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