Jurco, Bear with Two Goals Each as Oilers Beat Jets 5-3

WINNIPEG — Tomas Jurco scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers came back in the third period to beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-3 Thursday night in NHL exhibition play.

Ethan Bear also scored two goals for Edmonton (3-3-0), which trailed 3-2 after 40 minutes. Connor McDavid had the other.

C.J. Suess, Tucker Poolman and Gabriel Bourque scored for the Jets (2-2-2).

Newcomers on both teams had another chance to stake a claim to a starting spot with the exhibition season nearing its end, but costly penalties hurt the Jets.

Ethan Bear
EDMONTON, AB – MARCH 3: Ethan Bear #74 of the Edmonton Oilers lines up for a face off during the game against the New York Rangers on March 3, 2018 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Suess scored his second of the pre-season in dramatic fashion midway through the first period to get things started.

A cross ice-pass from Joona Luoto jumped off Suess’ stick and he caught it on the blade as it rose, then batted it past Oilers netminder Mike Smith before he could react at 10:07.

Both forwards are among the new faces in the Jets’ lineup. Suess played with Winnipeg’s AHL farm team last season and Luoto is an undrafted Finnish import who signed a three-year, entry-level deal.

Luoto had plenty of ice time Thursday and showed speed and skill.

Jurco, signed by the Oilers this past summer, scored to even things up five minutes later. He was untouched directly in front of the Winnipeg net and one-timed a pass from James Neal through Connor Hellebuyck’s five-hole.

McDavid gave the Oilers the lead in the second as he completed a quick series of passes from Jurco and Neal in front of Hellebuyck on a power play.

Hellebuyck hasn’t seen a lot of action in the pre-season but Winnipeg’s starting netminder played all three periods Thursday night. He finished with 21 saves.

Poolman, one of Winnipeg’s new defencemen, evened things up at 4:34 when he cashed in on a rush to the net started by centre Mark Letestu. It was Poolman’s third of the pre-season.

With Jacob Trouba gone and Dustin Byfuglien’s future with the Jets uncertain, there are big holes on defence to fill.

Bourque made it 3-2 for the Jets at 8:05 when he finished off a Mathieu Perreault attempt.

But Bear tied things up again at the 5:46 mark of the third after a review showed the puck had entered the Winnipeg net.

Then Jurco shouldered his way to the net beside Jets defenceman Dmitry Kulikov for his second of the game on a power play.

Winnipeg Jets vs Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid, right wing Tomas Jurco, left wing James Neal, defenceman Oscar Klefbom and centre Leon Draisaitl celebrate (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

Bear added some insurance at 16:14 when he slammed one from the slot through a crowd in front of the Winnipeg net.

The Jets outshot the Oilers 18-11 in the first two periods. Winnipeg also took four penalties to Edmonton’s one and gave up two goals while shorthanded.

The Jets close their exhibition season Sunday in Minnesota. They play five of their first six regular-season games away from Bell MTS Place.

The Oilers finish pre-season play in Calgary Saturday.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2019.

Scott Edmonds, The Canadian Press