EDMONTON — Ondrej Pavelec was thrilled to finally get back to work in the Winnipeg net.
Pavelec dressed for the first time since November and had a 21-save showing and Andrew Ladd scored the shootout winner as the Winnipeg Jets came away with a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
“To win always feels good,” said Pavelec, who made his first start since Nov. 2 after missing 33 games with a knee injury. “It was nice to be back after almost three months, I enjoyed it. The guys did a great job to keep them outside and they were patient, they were waiting for their opportunities and in the first few minutes, that helped me a lot.”
Blake Wheeler scored in regulation for the Jets (25-27-3), who have won three of their last four.
Matt Hendricks responded for the Oilers (22-29-6), who have lost four of their last five games.
“We didn’t seem to execute in terms of our shots. We missed a lot of shots and a lot were blocked so we didn’t seem to find the second and third opportunities off of rebounds,” said Hendricks. “We got a point. It’s a good sign. We were down by one late in the third and were able to tie it up and push in overtime.”
The game started slow with a scoreless first, and Edmonton holding an 8-5 lead in shots.
The Jets finally broke the deadlock seven minutes into the second period on a 2-on-1 break with Nikolaj Ehlers feeding Wheeler, who beat Oilers goalie Laurent Brossoit for his 15th of the season. Brossoit made his first start of the season with Cam Talbot suffering from an illness and only his second career NHL start — the first a 49 save-performance against the San Jose Sharks last April.
Brossoit made 32 saves in the shootout loss.
“Deja vu, feeling good and not getting the result,” said Brossoit when comparing his two NHL games.
Edmonton had a good chance just past the midway mark of the middle frame on a short-handed breakaway for Teddy Purcell, but he wasn’t able to get a good shot away on Pavelec.
The next Oilers short-handed breakaway connected, however, as Hendricks came in alone and beat Pavelec to the stick side with a snap shot to make it 1-1 with nine minutes to play and eventually send the game to extra time.
Edmonton had the best chance in overtime, but defenceman Eric Gryba sent a short-handed shot off the crossbar.
“We were real good through 50 minutes of hockey and I thought maybe a little longer than that,” said Jets coach Paul Maurice. “When we made some mistakes our goaltender was the difference. We had some real good efforts by a number of defenceman tonight.”
Both teams are off until Tuesday. The Oilers host the Anaheim Ducks and the Jets will travel to Carolina to face the Hurricanes.
Notes: It was the second of three meetings this season between the two teams, with Edmonton coming away with a 3-1 win against the Jets at Rexall Place on Dec. 21st. It was the 400th career NHL game for Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle and 200th for Jet Mark Scheifele. Despite being ill, Cam Talbot was able to serve as backup goalie for Edmonton, but was not on the bench for the game. Out with injuries for the Oilers were Oscar Klefbom (lower body), Andrew Ference (hip) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand). Missing from the Winnipeg lineup was Grant Clitsome (back).