WINNIPEG – New head coach Paul Maurice has liked what he’s seen so far from Winnipeg Jets rookies Jacob Trouba and Mark Scheifele.
The pair of freshmen scored all three goals for the Jets in a 3-2 overtime win over the visiting Edmonton Oilers, boosting Maurice’s record to 3-0 since taking over for the fired Claude Noel on Jan. 12.
“They’re good players,” said Maurice, adding that he doesn’t really look at the franchise’s first two No. 1 draft picks since moving from Atlanta as rookies. “There’s not like a kiddie section in our locker room.”
Trouba, a 19-year-old defenceman, tied the game in the third period and scored in overtime for Winnipeg (22-23-5), while Scheifele, a 20-year-old centre, gave the Jets a 2-1 lead midway through the third.
Jordan Eberle and David Perron scored for the Oilers (15-30-6), who finished 0-4 on a Central Division road trip that saw them outscored 17-8.
After nearly scoring himself, Jets winger Blake Wheeler found Trouba alone in front of the net for the winning goal 1:10 into overtime.
“Nobody really got down when we got down a goal,” said Trouba, who couldn’t recall ever scoring an overtime winner or scoring twice in a game. “I don’t do that very often.”
The Oilers forced extra time when Perron redirected a Jeff Petry point shot with two minutes remaining to make it 2-2 on just the fifth Edmonton shot of the third period.
Perron said the game would have played out much differently had the Oilers been able to add to their 1-0 lead.
“I had a breakaway in the first,” he said. “I would like to have that one back, probably.”
Trouba had tied the game at 5:48 of the third with a short-handed goal when Bryan Little carried the puck down the left wing, went around a sprawling Petry, and found the rookie defenceman in the low slot. It was the league-worst ninth short-handed goal allowed by the Oilers this season.
“They were both spectacular plays,” Trouba said of the setups from Little and Wheeler. “You’ve just got to get the puck to those kind of players and they’ll find you.”
Little and Maurice spoke of the Jets’ willingness to stay patient despite trailing by a goal.
“We didn’t want to take too many chances and too many risks yet,” Little said. “It was just a one-goal game. We were waiting for our opportunities, and it happened to come when we were shorthanded.”
Then Scheifele fought through a check along the boards, cut to the front of the net and banged home his own rebound to make it 2-1, his ninth goal of the season, at 10:37 of the third period.
Oilers coach Dallas Eakins was encouraged by the fight his team showed after finding itself down a goal.
“We were fine early,” Eakins said, “and then as the game wears on and as the game gets harder and harder we don’t have that strength to quite sustain it for the full 60 minutes.”
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 20-of-22 shots for Winnipeg, while Ilya Bryzgalov made 36 saves for Edmonton.
Eberle opened the scoring for the Oilers on the power play at 6:59 of the second period with his 16th goal of the season. Eberle took a pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins below the left faceoff dot and beat Pavelec high to the glove side.
The Jets came close in the first 40 minutes, outshooting the Oilers 24-16 through two periods, but couldn’t beat Bryzgalov.
The Jets had an 11-8 edge in shots after a scoreless first period that saw each team fail to score on a pair of power plays.
Newly acquired Oilers forward Matt Hendricks took a puck to the ear midway through the period and went to the locker-room, but returned to the game shortly after. Wheeler was shaken up after taking an elbow to the head from Taylor Hall, but didn’t miss a shift.
Some were expecting the bad blood to carry over from the teams’ previous meeting, a 6-2 Edmonton win on Dec. 23 in which the Jets racked up 78 penalty minutes. But there was little action after the whistle until a short third-period scrap between Hendricks and Jets defenceman Mark Stuart.
The Oilers return home for three games, beginning Tuesday against Vancouver. The Jets, meanwhile, face a difficult two-game Californian road trip with games Tuesday in Anaheim and Thursday in San Jose.
Notes: Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, who left Thursday’s game with a head injury, was a scratch. Teammate Ales Hemsky missed a second straight game with a foot injury.…Jets winger Evander Kane missed his fourth consecutive game with a hand injury suffered during a fight in the final seconds of a game against Tampa Bay on Jan. 7.…Winnipeg’s experiment with Dustin Byfuglien at forward continued for a fourth game. Regularly a defenceman, the 28-year-old Byfuglien was playing in his 500th career NHL game.