Coming off a heartbreaking defeat on Sunday against the Ottawa Senators, the Winnipeg Jets were forced to hit the road on a four-game trip away from Bell MTS Place and were looking to turn things around on Monday night against the Edmonton Oilers, although this matchup proved to be extremely stressful through all three periods.
Despite being outshot 14-8 in the opening period, the Jets carried a 2-1 lead into the second period and also added a pair of goals less than three minutes into the middle frame, extending their edge to 4-1. But thanks to some stellar end-to-end play from both teams, the Oilers cut their deficit to just one goal heading into the third period, however, captain Blake Wheeler potted the game-winning goal early in the final frame and handed his team a 6-5 victory.
Here are three takeaways from the Jets’ 6-5 victory against the Oilers:
1. Mark Scheifele Stays Hot
While forward Mark Scheifele has been paired with multiple different players so far this season, his consistent production level hasn’t wavered through 15 games as he’s only been held pointless in two of those games. Adding to his impressive 2021 performance on Monday night, the 27-year-old extended his current point streak to seven games and also added a trio of points (one goal and two assists), two shots on net, two blocks along with one takeaway.
Opening the scoring for his team, Scheifele received a cross-seam pass from Wheeler and one-timed it home for his first power-play goal of the season, handing Winnipeg a 1-0 advantage in the first period. Along with setting up teammate Mason Appleton for his fourth goal of the season, which extended his club’s lead to 3-1 in the second period, the veteran center also earned an assist on the game-winning goal – capping off his three-point performance.
2. Hectic Night For Connor Hellebuyck
Though there was some discussion about whether Winnipeg would give goaltender Connor Hellebuyck the night off on Monday, it’s probably a good thing he started in net against the Oilers, as the outcome of this game probably wouldn’t have ended well if the 2019-20 Vezina Trophy winner was sitting on the bench. Starting his fifth straight game, the 27-year-old faced a season-high 45 shots and stopped 40 of them, which allowed his team to retake the lead in the third period.
Despite allowing five goals – including three in the second period – against Edmonton, which are the most goals he’s allowed since Jan. 17, 2020, Hellebuyck experienced far too much pressure in this contest and didn’t receive any help in the middle frame as he faced 22 shots. While the veteran netminder did allow a few soft goals, there’s no question his teammates will need to do a better job of taking away shooting lanes during his next outing.
3. Neal Pionk Holds Connor McDavid In Check
Considering forward Connor McDavid currently leads the league in scoring with 30 points, not too many teams have had much success in slowing him down so far this season, but that’s exactly what defenseman Neal Pionk was asked to accomplish on Monday night at Rogers Place. Even though it was an extremely tough assignment, the 25-year-old did an excellent job at knocking the Oilers’ captain off the puck and keeping him out of the middle of the ice.
While McDavid was still able to generate one assist and six shots on net, he was held to just a 0.25 xG and only one high-danger scoring chance during five-on-five situations. But since it’s very difficult to contain the superstar center for an extended period of time, it’ll be very interesting to see if Pionk can help hold him in check throughout Wednesday night’s showdown.
The Jets will receive the day off on Tuesday and will be back in action on Wednesday against the Oilers at 9 pm CT.