Morrissey helps Jets soar past Oilers 7-5
WINNIPEG — Defenceman Josh Morrissey knew the Jets needed to rebound from a deflating loss to the Oilers in Edmonton the night before.
Morrissey scored two goals and an assist to lead Winnipeg to a 7-5 victory over the Oilers before a sold-out crowd of 15,324 at Canada Life Centre on Saturday.
“I thought we competed tonight and brought the intensity and played on our toes,” Morrissey said. “The early power-play goal against can kind of bring back some bad memories, I guess, in the short term, but we got back on it and just kept playing.”
The Oilers had scored an early power-play goal en route to a 6-3 triumph over Winnipeg on Friday. But the Jets stuck with it in a back-and-forth battle.
“I think that shows that we were ready to play tonight, and even some adversity early wasn’t going to affect our ability to keep playing and play the rest of the 50 minutes, or whatever it was,” Morrissey said.
Mark Scheifele, Adam Lowry, Kyle Copabianco, Morgan Barron and Dylan DeMelo, into an empty net, also scored for the Jets, who snapped a five-game winless streak and a three-game losing skid at home.
Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored three goals, while Mattias Janmark and Nick Bjugstad added singles.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 30-of-35 shots for Winnipeg (36-25-2), which improved its home record to 21-10-1.
Netminder Jack Campbell made 31 saves on 37 shots for Edmonton (34-22-8).
Lowry snapped a 35-game goalless drought — the longest of his career — when he tipped a pass from Barron into the net to tie the game 3-3 early in the second period.
"Honestly, it was huge,” admitted a relieved Lowry. “The longer that thing goes on, the more you think about it and the more ways it just starts affecting other parts of your game.
"It's nice to get that out of the way. (Barron) snapped his slump as well. Nice to get a little secondary scoring and get back into the win column."
Barron had a 20-game drought.
“They’ve got a couple of guys that are among the best in the world, the best player in the world (Connor McDavid), and Leon, who is in the conversation as well," Lowry said.
“It's tough to shut them down, and they’ve got a great power play. Fortunately, we were able to score more goals than they did. That being said, (Hellebuyck) played great. In the third period, a ton of really key saves for us.”
Draisaitl, who extended his scoring streak to 12 games, scored his 25th and 26th power-play goals of the season, which is now a franchise record. But he was in no mood to celebrate.
“They played a good game, but we obviously gave them way too many chances,” said Draisaitl, who was asked if he enjoyed a game where 12 goals were scored. “No, not necessarily. You know, we play to win and win the race to make the playoffs here first. So, I’d rather take a 1-0 win.”
After Bjugstad scored to pull within 6-5 early in the third period, the Oilers came close to tying the game.
“Yeah, we had a bunch of looks,” Draisaitl said. “Their goalie made the right saves at the right time. We had our chances but obviously, we don’t want to chase the sixth, or the seventh goal. So, it’s something to clean up.”
McDavid also recorded his 58th power-play point, breaking Wayne Gretzky’s franchise record.
“I thought it was a sloppily-played game in many regards both ways,” said Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft, who denied that the Jets had baited Edmonton into a track meet.
“I think their calling card would be a prime defending team. That’s what got them the record out of the gate that they had. I think both coaches look at that game as a lot of sloppy mistakes and in the end, they found that extra goal, they found that extra save, and they found the two points, and we didn’t get that tonight.”
Newly-acquired Jets forward Vladislav Namestnikov suited up for the first time since being obtained from the San Jose Sharks at Friday’s trade deadline. … Winnipeg C Pierre-Luc Dubois missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. F Mason Appleton was placed on injured reserve due to an upper-body injury. … Jets defenceman Nate Schmidt and Logan Stanley, and F Karson Kuhlman were healthy scratches. … Jets blueliner Josh Morrissey was second in scoring among NHL defencemen before the game. … Winnipeg F Blake Wheeler played in his 1,100th NHL career game. … The Jets headed into Saturday’s game with the second-best penalty-kill record in the NHL at 84.2 per cent. The franchise record is 85.2 per cent.
Jets: Host the San Jose Sharks on Monday.
Oilers: Play in Buffalo against the Sabres on Monday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2023.
Jim Bender, The Canadian Press