EDMONTON — Two goals from Connor McDavid propelled the Edmonton Oilers to a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
Tyson Barrie notched a pair of assists for Edmonton (20-13-0).
Mathieu Perrault had the lone goal for the Jets (18-10-2), tipping in a long shot midway through the second period to temporarily tie the game at 1-1.
Edmonton goalie Mikko Koskinen stopped 24-of-25 shots and Laurent Brossoit registered 19 saves for Winnipeg.
Both teams were on the tough end of back-to-backs, with the Oilers coming off a 7-3 win over the Flames on Wednesday and the Jets having topped the Canadiens 4-3 in overtime the same night.
It was a big victory for the Oilers who, with 40 points, move into a tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs for first place in the North Division.
The Jets are close behind with 38 points.
Winnipeg made a late push Wednesday and pulled Brossoit in favour of the extra attacker.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins put away an empty netter with just over a minute on the clock, but Winnipeg challenged the goal as being offside. After a lengthy video review, the officials agreed.
Both sides reset and Koskinen withstood a late barrage to seal the victory for Edmonton.
Perrault evened the score 12:43 into the second after the Oilers turned the puck over deep in the Jets zone. Nate Thompson unleashed a long shot and Perrault, stationed at the top of the crease, directed it down and through Koskinen’s legs to make it 1-1.
The tie lasted just 38 seconds, though. On the next shift, the Oilers got a 2-on-1 breakaway, with Pionk trying to corral both McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins as they sprinted into Winnipeg territory.
McDavid controlled the puck and looked poised to dish it off to Nugent-Hopkins but instead snapped a shot in past Brossoit for his 20th goal of the year.
McDavid’s first of the night put the Oilers on the board 3:53 into the second period. Moments after coming off the bench, he picked up a puck along the boards and riffled it off the cross bar and in to open the scoring.
The Oilers captain is on an eight-game point streak, tallying six goals and 12 assists across the stretch.
The opening frame was a defensive battle that resulted in just 10 shots across the period (six for Winnipeg and four for Edmonton).
There were some tense moments on the Jets bench as the intermission horn sounded when Mark Scheifele hobbled toward the dressing room in obvious distress.
Scheifele appeared to suffer a lower-body injury in blocking a blast from Barrie late in the first but was back on the Winnipeg bench to start the second.
The Oilers and Jets will meet again in Edmonton Saturday for a rematch.
NOTES: Each side went 0 for 1 on the power play … Leon Draisaitl saw his eight-game point streak snapped. The Oilers forward amassed seven goals and eight assists during the streak.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2021.
The Canadian Press