Lemieux scores twice, Jets end year with 4-3 win over Oilers
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — In one game, Brendan Lemieux doubled his NHL goal total.
Lemieux scored twice to give him four career goals and the Winnipeg Jets ended 2018 on an upbeat note, defeating the slumping Edmonton Oilers 4-3 Monday night.
The 22-year-old son of former NHL star Claude Lemieux entered with two goals in 31 games.
“It felt great. It’s good to be a difference-maker,” Lemieux said. “I thought our line played really well tonight. That was the first time we’ve had that dynamic with (Andrew Copp) in the middle and (Jack Roslovic) on the wing. I loved our game. There was some stuff we could clean up, but I was really happy with our line.”
Brandon Tanev and Blake Wheeler also scored for the Jets (25-12-2), who snapped a two-game skid.
“The first four shifts of the game I didn’t love, but after that we got better at breaking pucks out, we were a little faster and we hit the middle an awful lot, which is a pretty good tell if we’re moving right,” coach Paul Maurice said.
Leon Draisaitl had a pair of goals and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the other for the Oilers (18-18-3), who lost all five games on their homestand and have dropped six in a row overall.
“It was definitely a better effort than the game before, but it was still not good enough to beat a team like that,” Draisaitl said. “We are making too many little mistakes and that starts with me and the top guys. We have to clean that up.”
Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck robbed Draisaitl in tight with 23 seconds left to preserve his 100th NHL win.
“As we always say, we just need one and that’s the one we needed,” Maurice said.
Edmonton was first on the board, scoring with five minutes left in the first period as Connor McDavid displayed a burst of speed to get past a defender along the boards. McDavid then sent the puck in front for Nugent-Hopkins, who beat Hellebuyck for his 14th of the season.
The Jets tied it five minutes into the second when a long shot by Jacob Trouba was tipped by Tanev past Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen.
Winnipeg scored again about a minute later as a big scramble in front ended with the puck slipping under Koskinen. The goal was credited to Lemieux.
The Oilers pulled even on a power-play goal with two minutes left in the second on a one-timer from Draisaitl, his 20th of the season.
Winnipeg got that goal back just 29 seconds later when Wheeler picked the top corner.
Edmonton knotted the game again seven minutes into the third when McDavid picked off a pass and fed the puck in front to Draisaitl, who beat Hellebuyck with a backhand.
The Jets surged back in front with six minutes remaining on another goal by Lemieux.
NOTES: Winnipeg won the season series 2-1. ... Two players made their debuts on the Edmonton blue line after being acquired in trades on Sunday. Alexander Petrovic came over in a deal with Florida, while Brandon Manning was dealt to the Oilers from Chicago.
Jets: Play at Pittsburgh on Friday.
Oilers: Begin a four-game road trip Wednesday at Arizona.