Hellebuyck, Pionk, Connor lead Jets to 2-1 win over Oilers
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Neal Pionk and Kyle Connor each had a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Saturday night.
Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves for the Jets, who mustered only 17 shots on goal.
“When you’re clearly half a step behind a lot of the night, your goalie gives you that confidence that, ‘OK, we’ll get going eventually,’” Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness said. “We started to skate better at times and then when there was a breakdown, he was there for us. The guys have a tremendous amount of confidence in him.”
Klim Kostin scored for the Oilers, who have lost four straight at home. Connor McDavid’s point streak was stopped at 17 games — the Edmonton captain had 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists) during the run.
“I think we played a pretty solid team game,” Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie said. “We didn’t give up a ton of chances and we created some looks and had some chances to get one, two, three, four goals, but we just didn’t get it done. Some nights you play well and don’t get the result you are looking for. It is frustrating, but it is part of the game.”
Edmonton controlled most of the early action, but it was Winnipeg that struck first with a power-play goal with 4:16 remaining in the opening period. Connor made a nifty backhand pass to Pionk and he snapped in his sixth goal before Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell could get across.
McDavid rang a shot off the post midway through the second and set up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for an excellent opportunity late in the period that Hellebuyck stopped.
“It seems like when we need him the most, it seems like he’s there,” Connor said. “Clutch times, he’s a clutch player. He’s by far one of the best players in the league. He’s a leader in that locker room, too, and he had some good stuff tonight.”
Edmonton outshot Winnipeg 20-10 through 40 minutes.
The Oilers tied it 4:29 into the third off a faceoff as Kostin beat Hellebuyck up high for his third goal in the last two games and fifth of the season.
Winnipeg regained the lead 2 1/2 minutes later when Connor tipped a long shot by Pionk past Campbell for his 16th of the season.
“Good teams find a way and we found a way tonight,” Bowness said.
Edmonton had a late power play but couldn’t get another puck past Hellebuyck. It also appeared Kostin might have sustained a serious leg injury in the waning seconds.
The potent Oilers power play went 0 for 5.
“It may not have been our A game tonight, but the penalty kill was huge going up against one of the best power plays in the league,” Connor said. “Just a lot of unselfish guys back there getting in front of lanes and blocking a lot of shots.”
NOTES: Winnipeg was missing seven players: Nikolaj Ehlers (sports hernia), Mason Appleton (wrist), Saku Maenalanen (upper body), Logan Stanley (upper body), Nate Schmidt (upper body), Blake Wheeler (groin) and Cole Perfetti (upper body). Star defenseman Josh Morrissey exited the previous game Thursday against Vancouver in the third period with a lower-body injury, but returned against the Oilers. … F Kristian Reichel made his season debut with the Jets. … The Oilers were without Evander Kane (wrist), Ryan Murray (back) and Leon Draisaitl (undisclosed). It was the eighth game Draisaitl has missed since 2016.
Jets: Host the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.
Oilers: Host the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday in the second game of a four-game homestand.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.