Nikolaj Ehlers scores hat trick, adds assist as Jets defeat Oilers
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EDMONTON — Nikolaj Ehlers hit the scoresheet for the first time this season in dramatic fashion on Monday night.
The left-winger had a hat trick and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets captured their first win of the young season by defeating the Edmonton Oilers 5-2.
"We all knew what we needed to do and are capable of," Ehlers said. "We didn't do that the first two games, but we showed it tonight. We played good tonight, simple and fast. We were able to find the holes. We just have to be able to find a way to keep that going."
Mark Scheifele had a goal and two assists and Dmitry Kulikov also scored for the Jets (1-2-0).
Blake Wheeler picked up three helpers and felt it was just a matter of time before Winnipeg found its footing, despite a tough start to the campaign.
"There wasn't any panic, even though the first two games were about as bad as you could script it," he said. "Guys were still coming to the rink with a good mentality and trying to get better. It was a good sign, when your team responds like this and everybody does their job. These are the types of results you can expect when everyone does that."
Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins replied for the Oilers (1-2-0), who have lost two straight.
"We were giving up breakaways and odd-man rushes. When you do that you're going to end up on the losing side more often than not," said Oilers forward Milan Lucic. "We get a couple of days to regroup and go over what we need to do better, because the last two games, the chances that we've given up, is definitely unacceptable."
Connor Hellebuyck picked up the win in net by making 37 saves. Cam Talbot turned away 38-of-43 shots in defeat.
Edmonton outshot Winnipeg 12-3 in the first nine minutes of the game, but it was the Jets who struck first as Scheifele corralled a shot in front of the net and then sent it past Talbot for his third of the season.
The Jets made it 2-0 before the first was over as Kulikov was given far too much space and was able to beat Talbot with a hard wrist shot.
The Oilers finally got on the board 13 minutes into the second period as Connor McDavid fought for the puck behind the net and then fed it in front to Draisaitl, who sent it past Hellebuyck.
Edmonton tied the game just 40 seconds later as Nugent-Hopkins split the defence and scored to make it 2-2.
Winnipeg surged back in front three minutes later with a pair of goals by Ehlers, who picked the top corner on a three-on-two break and then made it 4-2 just over a minute after that by converting a perfect feed from Blake Wheeler into a wide-open net.
Scheifele worked hard to get Ehlers the natural hat trick, and did so with a perfect power-play pass with 1:14 remaining in the third period.
Both teams have a bit of a break as the Jets will next hit the ice on Thursday in Vancouver and the Oilers are off until Saturday, when they play host to the Ottawa Senators.
Notes: This is the first of three meetings this season between the Oilers and Jets. Last season, the Oilers swept the three-game set… Oilers winger Anton Slepyshev made his debut after suffering an ankle injury that kept him out of training camp.