Armia nets 2, Jets top Oilers 4-3 despite Scheifele’s injury
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Concern and uncertainty clouded the Winnipeg Jets’ celebration after a tough 4-3 victory over the surging Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.
Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg’s top center and second-leading scorer behind linemate Blake Wheeler, left the game 7:37 into the second period after a hit by Oilers defenseman Brandon Davidson sent him sliding hard into the boards.
”You’re just hoping it’s the wind knocked out of them, they’re rolling around,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. ”He doesn’t go down easily and he certainly doesn’t lay on the ice ever. So you know if he’s down it’s significant.”
Maurice added he’ll know the extent of the upper-body injury after Scheifele is looked at more closely on Thursday. Scheifele had an assist before leaving to give him 38 points.
Joel Armia scored twice and Bryan Little and Kyle Connor also had goals as Winnipeg halted Edmonton’s season-high winning streak at four games.
Leon Draisaitl had a short-handed goal and an assist for the Oilers (17-18-2), extending his point streak to five games (one goal, eight assists). Jesse Puljujarvi and Jujhar Khaira also scored, and Connor McDavid added two assists.
Connor Hellebuyck made 22 saves for the Jets (21-11-6), who are 13-3-1 at home. Cam Talbot stopped 35 shots for the Oilers. He had won seven straight starts.
Davidson didn’t draw a penalty on the hit to Scheifele, and Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said it was an unfortunate injury.
”The boards are so heavy and so hard that when you go into them like that and you can’t protect yourself or slow down, something’s got to give,” McLellan said. ”Hopefully he’s not hurt, seriously hurt. We want to have our star players, or all players, in the games.”
Winnipeg hosts the New York Islanders on Friday and travels to take on the Oilers again Sunday.
”There’s no intent there by (Davidson). You can tell,” Oilers forward Mark Letestu said. ”(Scheifele) just kind of went in awkwardly.
”He’s good for our league, but if he misses the next couple (games), and the next time they’re through Edmonton, that wouldn’t hurt my feelings.”
The teams were tied 2-all after the first period and Winnipeg led 4-3 after the second.
After Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba couldn’t keep the puck in Edmonton’s end on the power play, McDavid raced after it and went in alone on Hellebuyck. When he got to the front of the net, he suddenly dropped the puck back to Draisaitl, who scored his ninth goal of the season for the 1-0 lead at 6:17 of the first.
Little tied it just under two minutes later. The veteran center’s sixth goal of the season came in his 710th career game, making him the franchise leader in games played for the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise. He surpassed former teammate Chris Thorburn.
Armia gave Winnipeg a 2-1 lead at 14:44, but Puljujarvi quickly struck on a rebound to knot the score at 16:07.
The Jets regained the lead 54 seconds into the second after Wheeler fed a pass across the front of Talbot to Connor. The assist was Wheeler’s 288th for the organization, surpassing Ilya Kovalchuk as the franchise leader.
The captain was worried about Scheifele.
”That’s my running mate, man,” said Wheeler, who moved to center after the injury. ”That’s part of my livelihood, a big part of what we do as a team. Irreplaceable. Just fingers crossed.”
Armia scored his second of the game, and sixth of the season, after taking advantage of a bad Oilers pass. He stole the puck and went in on a breakaway to make it 4-2 at 9:48, but Khaira closed the gap to one goal again 47 seconds later.
”I thought that the work ethic and the commitment to wanting to work hard was there tonight, but our smarts, our hockey smarts, didn’t exist,” McLellan said.
”A lot of times we were stepping up in the neutral zone, we had poor support in behind, faceoff execution, number of turnovers, stuff that we need to do a much better job of against a team like that.”
Winnipeg hosts the New York Islanders on Friday.
Edmonton is home against Chicago on Friday.
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