The Oilers homestand continues on Tuesday when they host the Anaheim Ducks at 7 p.m. MT. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West or heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
EDMONTON, AB – Matt Hendricks tied the game shorthanded in the third, but the Winnipeg Jets would be victorious in a shootout, taking the 2-1 decision.
“A lot of special teams tonight on both sides, a lot of power plays and penalty kills for both groups,” said Hendricks. “They’re a good team, a big team. I know their record doesn’t show it right now but they’re a good hockey team. They’ve got a lot talent over there, a lot of big bodies that are tough to play against and their goaltender came in and played well for them tonight. We didn’t seem to execute most of our shots. We missed a lot of shots, a lot of shots got blocked, so we weren’t able to find a lot of second and third opportunities off rebounds.”
With Cam Talbot sidelined due to illness, Laurent Brossoit was given the start between the pipes for the Oilers. In just his second career NHL game, Brossoit had to be sharp early. The Oilers first shot of the game did not come until 7:40 of the first. The first four shots of the night belonged to Winnipeg, and the young netminder turned them all away.
Perhaps the most impressive of Brossoit’s early stops came on a breakaway at 7:15. Bryan Little slipped behind the Oilers defence and went one-on-one with the goalie. Brossoit shut the door to keep it a scoreless affair.
Brossoit finished the night with 32 saves during the game, but allowed two in the shootout.
“I felt pretty good for the most part,” said Brossoit. “There’s still some things I want to tidy up at this level. But for the most part, I felt good. It feels good to get a point but shootouts are something I’m pretty confident in so it’s kind of frustrating losing a point that way.”
The Oilers players around the locker room were proud of the way the the 22-year-old netminder battled.
“LB played great for us in net. Heck of a job coming in,” said Hendricks. “He kind of wasn’t expecting to play tonight, so he did a heck of a job.”
Some rough stuff came midway through the first when a collision in the neutral zone sent sparks flying. Matt Hendricks had to answer the bell when challenged by Dustin Byfuglien. Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault was sent to the sin bin for cross-checking, in addition to the two fighters.
Nothing came on that man advantage for the Oilers. After it expired, the penalty boxes got even more crowded with Andrew Ladd getting called for hooking and Nail Yakupov being penalized for embellishment.
With the two teams skating 4-on-4, Connor McDavid nearly put the Oilers ahead. The rookie redirected an Andrej Sekera shot on net but Ondrej Pavelec made the save.
The Jets struck first at 7:15 of the second period on a 2-on-1 rush. Nikolaj Ehlers set up Blake Wheeler for the first goal of the night. Wheeler’s tally was his 15th of the season.
Teddy Purcell nearly evened the score shorthanded a few minutes later when he tried to go backhand on a breakaway, but was halted by the sprawling Pavelec.
As it would turn out, the Oilers would get the equalizer shorthanded in the third. At 11:00 of the final regulation frame, Hendricks snapped a shot blocker side of Pavelec to tie the game 1-1. Mark Fayne recorded the assist.
With less than a minute remaining in the third, Purcell was denied while crashing the net. Pavelec made the stop to send the game to overtime.
Oilers defenceman Eric Gryba nearly sealed the victory for the home team in overtime but fired his shot off the crossbar. Hendricks’ attempt to clean up the rebound was kicked away by Pavelec.
In the final seconds of OT, Sekera had a couple looks at the net but Pavelec shut the door to send the game to a shootout.
Wheeler scored after Hendricks was denied to give the Jets a 1-0 lead in the skills competition. Jordan Eberle went up top to tie things at one with the next shot. Ladd beat Brossoit to give Winnipeg the lead again.
McDavid was denied on his first career shootout attempt to allow the Jets a 2-1 victory.
“We got a point and it’s a good sign,” said Hendricks. “We’re down by one late into the third and we’re able to tie it up and push for overtime.”
The Oilers host the Anaheim Ducks at Rexall Place on Tuesday night.