Leon Draisaitl’s performance on Thursday night earned him some high praise from linemate Connor McDavid.
Draisaitl had two goals and an assist and McDavid chipped in with three helpers as the Edmonton Oilers doubled up the Winnipeg Jets 6-3.
“He’s one of my favourite guys to play with for sure. He’s so patient with the puck,” McDavid said of his new linemate Draisaitl, who now has nine goals on the season.
“He’s always finding you in different ways and putting the puck on your stick in a good situation. Leon thinks the game so well. We think the game a little bit alike and when you get that, good things happen.”
Mark Letestu scored two of Edmonton’s three power-play goals, doubling his season goal total in the process, as the Oilers used the man advantage to break the game open.
Edmonton went 3-for-4 on the power play, which continues to be one of the best road units in the league after entering the night with the seventh-best power play away from home.
“They had a good power play. They scored three goals, and we took some not so smart penalties,” said Jets rookie Patrik Laine. “We knew that they were going to have a good power play, so that’s the way we wanted to play, but that kind of stuff happens and we have to deal with that.
Patrick Maroon and Benoit Pouliot also scored for Edmonton (13-10-2), while McDavid’s three assists up his league-leading assist (23) and point (34) totals.
Laine had two power-play goals to lift his season goal total to 15 — good for second behind Sidney Crosby’s 16. Bryan Little had the other for Winnipeg (11-13-2).
“I got two power-play goals so there was enough space. But I think there was a little bit of room on my side, but our four players did a good job getting me the puck and create scoring chances, so that was good.”
Cam Talbot made 21 saves for his 12th win of the season. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 23 of the 29 shots he faced before Michael Hutchinson came in to make four saves in just over 12 minutes of relief.
Winnipeg went 2-for-4 with the man advantage thanks to Laine’s two one-timers.
“They’re a good team in this building when it gets rocking. They can really push,” said Letestu. “For the guys to stick with it, that fifth goal by Leon I think was huge. It gave us a little bit of breathing room.”
Little opened the scoring just 35 seconds into the game, firing a shot from the slot past Talbot high stick side. It was his first of the season after missing 23 games because of a knee injury suffered just minutes into Winnipeg’s season opener.
The Oilers responded soon after with a power-play goal at 2:31. With Chris Thorburn off for high-sticking, Letestu’s third of the season came off a redirect on a Draisaitl point shot that beat Hellebuyck high glove side.
Following Laine’s first, Edmonton found the equalizer 51 seconds into the second period as Draisaitl quickly picked up a rebound off a McDavid shot and slid it past Hellebuyck.
Letestu’s second of the game came at 5:06 of the second period, while Milan Lucic and McDavid earned the assists.
Maroon scored the eventual game-winner with his seventh of the season at 11:43 of the second on a wrist shot from the sideboards to make it 4-2.
Laine and Draisaitl traded goals early in the third before Pouliot deflected an Andrej Sekera point shot at 7:33 to make it 6-3 and chase Hellebuyck from the game.
“We did not check hard tonight. We were not physical by any means,” said Jets coach Paul Maurice. “Three goals are a function of the five-on-five game. We didn’t defend hard enough or defend quick enough. Pucks to our net and we didn’t get back quick enough and they’re banging in rebounds.”
The Oilers return to Edmonton for their next two games against Anaheim and Minnesota on Saturday and Sunday. The Jets, meanwhile, visit Central Division opponents St. Louis and Chicago in a weekend back-to-back as they attempt to put a halt to their six-game road losing streak.