Winnipeg – Someone tweeted it was the Winnipeg Jets “heritage” to lose to the Edmonton Oilers. And it certainly seemed to play out that way on Sunday Afternoon at Investors Group Field, as the visitors won the Heritage Classic by shutting out the mistake prone home team 3-0 in front of a crowd of 33,240.
And while it was the likes of Gretzky, Kurri, Messier, and Coffey who used to break Jets fans hearts in the 80’s and 90’s, it was a cast of current Edmonton lesser lights who did all of the damage in helping the Oilers improve to 5-1 at the expense of 2-3 Winnipeg.
The Jets were in good shape mideway through the game until Edmonton penalty killer Mark Letestu made an alert play in his own zone to deflect a pass into the feet of Dustin Byfuglien at the point. Letestu was able to take off on a shorthanded breakaway and beat Connor Hellebuyck glove side at 9:24 of the second period.
Just 1:46 later, Darnell Nurse stepped out of the penalty box and finished off a 2 on 1 with Connor McDavid to stretch the Edmonton lead.
The Oilers took complete control when rookie Patrik Laine was poke checked coming out of his own end, and the puck eventually found it’s way to Zack Kassian who buried it past Hellebuyck with just 2:44 remaining in the period.
The Jets have shown a penchant for coming back in the final 20 minutes of two of their previous four games. But it didn’t happen this time- against this opponent. At least on this historical occasion.
Cam Talbot made 31 saves for the shutout, while Oilers Coach Todd McLellan is convinced being the home team for an outdoor game is a no win situation. And the stats would seem to bear that out, as least for Heritage Classics with the Jets joining Edmonton and Vancouver in the loss column. Calgary remains the only Canadian home team to have bucked that trend after shutting out Montreal in 2011.