Edmonton struck first in the outdoor game thanks to a shorthanded goal by Mark Letestu 9:24 into the second period. The forward beat goalie Connor Hellebuyck on a breakaway after Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien coughed up the puck near Edmonton’s blueline.
The Oilers then went up 2-0 less than two minutes later as Darnell Nurse came out of the penalty box to score on an odd-man rush. The goal was set up by Connor McDavid, moving the Edmonton captain into a three-way tie for first place in points among the league with nine.
Edmonton increased its lead with 2:44 left in the period after Jets rookie Patrik Laine turned the puck over in his own end. Zach Kassian beat Hellebuyck with a wrist shot for his second goal of the season. Kassian also had an assist on Nurse’s goal to finish the night with two points.
“In the first, we got pucks behind them, we were getting pucks to the net and we were creating rebounds,” said Jets forward Mark Scheifele. “In the second we got away from it. We tried to make plays through people in the neutral zone and they made us pay for it.”
Cam Talbot made 31 saves for the Oilers to earn his league-leading fifth win. The shutout was Talbot’s first of the season. Hellebuyvk stopped 29 shots in the loss.
“We rose to the challenge and played a good game,” said McDavid.
“Talbot was great and we had a few other guys step up, so it was a good feeling today for sure.”
Neither team was able to capitalize on the power play during the game. Winnipeg was scoreless in four man advantages while Edmonton went 0/2.
The start of the game was delayed by almost two hours due to sun glare. The NHL says player safety would be in jeopardy if an outdoor game is played with intermittent sunlight. There were still a few sun spots on the ice when the puck eventually dropped at 3:53 p.m. CT.
“I went out at one point, it was still kind of overcast but you could tell the sun was starting to peek through, so you could tell it was probably going to be delayed,” said Talbot. “It’s not out of the realm of possibility, so we were prepared for that if it was so happen.”
The temperature at the start of the game was 10.1 C.
The 2016 Heritage Classic is the first regular-season outdoor NHL game to be played in Canada since the Ottawa Senators beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 at BC Place in 2014. Of all the players who suited up at Investors Group Field, 14 have previously skated in at least one outdoor NHL game. Oilers forward Benoit Pouliot has played the most with Sunday’s match marking his fourth appearance.