Winnipeg Jets forward Jansen Harkins made a case for full-time employment with the NHL club on Wednesday night.
Harkins, who was in and out of the lineup last season, had two goals and an assist to lead Winnipeg to a 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in a pre-season game at the Canada Life Centre.
Evgeny Svechnikov had a goal and two assists, while Austin Poganski and Kyle Connor rounded out the scoring for Winnipeg.
Brad Malone scored Edmonton’s lone goal.
In two periods, Edmonton netminder Ilya Konovalov made 17 saves on 21 shots before giving way to Stuart Skinner in the third. Skinner then made six saves.
Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck stopped 17-of-18 shots.
Harkins gave the Jets a 4-0 lead late in the second period with his second goal of the game.
He was sent in alone on Konovalov with a nifty pass from rookie forward Svechnikov, then lifted the puck over the Russian goalie. Defenceman Dylan DeMelo also assisted.
Poganski had upped the score to 3-0 at 7:09 when he raced in on Konovalov and his shot bounced off the goalie, eventually finding its way into the net behind him. Rookie forward Mikey Eyssimont and defenceman Ville Heinola assisted.
Svechnikov put the Jets up 2-0 when he deflected defenceman Logan Stanley’s shot from the point past Konovalov at the 2:22 mark. Harkins also assisted.
The Oilers finally got on the scoreboard with 1:13 left in the second period when Malone snapped a shot past Hellebuyck to make it 4-1. Forward Zack Kassian assisted.
Connor, who led the Jets in goals last season, then scored midway through the third period on a perfect setup from defenceman Josh Morrissey.
The Jets opened the scoring early in the first period. Just 1:31 into the game, Harkins pounced upon a loose puck in the crease after Konovalov made a sharp save on Svechnikov’s shot. Forward Cole Perfetti also assisted.
The Jets outshot Edmonton 15-4 in the first period. That included a dangerous shot by Connor, who batted the puck out of the air and fired it point blank. A video review was needed to determine that Konovalov did indeed make the save.
Wednesday was the first of a home-and-home series between the two teams. The Jets will play the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday night. It will be the first of a quick, two-game, two-day road trip for the Jets, who will play the Canucks in Vancouver on Sunday.
NOTE: The Jets and Oilers offered a joint tribute towards Thursday’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in a ceremony before the game. There were a number of orange shirts in the crowd, including fans who were wearing Oilers jerseys.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2021.
Jim Bender, The Canadian Press