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Connor McDavid scores twice to lead Edmonton Oilers past Jets

WATCH ABOVE: Some recent video about the Edmonton Oilers.

Connor McDavid scored twice to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night at Rogers Place.

With 20 goals, McDavid trails only Toronto’s Auston Matthews in that department.

The Jets had a scare late in the first period when Mark Scheifele was hobbled by a Tyson Barrie slapshot. Scheifele struggled as he left the ice but did return for the second period.

McDavid broke the ice just before the four-minute mark of the second. He scooped a shot off the right wing boards, cut in and fired a bullet past Winnipeg netminder Laurent Brossoit.

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) is chased by Winnipeg Jets’ Derek Forbort (24) and Neal Pionk (4) during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

 

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“His offensive abilities and different ways to create offence is off the charts,” Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said of McDavid after the game.

“What I like most about him this year is he’s come in with a mindset to defend well, be a real good, solid player in our own end, and our coaching staff talks every day about how much he’s dug into playing a winning style of game.”

Jets forward Mathieu Perreault tied it on a deflection, but McDavid replied with a wrister on a two-on-one 38 seconds later.

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“Everyone’s playing lots of hockey, so one team’s going to have a little more jump than the other and you have to take advantage of those nights — and when you don’t have it, you have to find a way to win with your B or C game,” McDavid said.

“I thought tonight was a good, mature win.”

With Brossoit on the bench for an extra attacker late in the third, Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored into the empy net. The Jets challenged for offside and were successful in having the goal negated.

“I think we have learned how to play when we have the lead,” Oilers netminder Mikko Koskinen said. “We didn’t do anything stupid, we didn’t take any stupid risks there, we just put the pucks deep and kept their chances really short and had energy for a full 60 (minutes).”

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“Everyone wants to win,” Oilers defenceman Ethan Bear said. “You can’t just go out and score five goals every time and give up five or six as well, you’ve got to play a tight defensive game and I think a lot of guys have figured it out and we’re working together as a team.

“We’re uplifting each other and we’re trying to grow and that’s a good sign. Coming into playoffs, you’ve got to be ready and I think we’re building up to that.”

With 39 seconds to go, Scheifele fanned on a shot with most of the net to shoot at.

“It’s tough to defend for 20 minutes like that, but I thought we had our chances catching them coming the other way,” McDavid said.

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“You kind of need to bear down when you have a team on the ropes like that, then that third one could really hurt them.”

The Oilers (20-13) have 40 points to equal the Maple Leafs atop the North Division. However, the Leafs have three games in hand.

The Oilers and Jets will play again Saturday night.

–With files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott

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