Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets rally late to beat Oilers

Frolik scores twice, including winner, in season opener

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Jason Franson / The Canadian Press

Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) checks Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle (14) during first-period NHL hockey action in Edmonton Tuesday.

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EDMONTON -- Where have these guys been?

Three faces who weren't in the Winnipeg Jets' lineup at the end of last season contributed four goals and the Jets rallied from a two-goal hole to upend the Edmonton Oilers 5-4 in Tuesday night's season opener in Rexall Place.

Michael Frolik, acquired during the summer from the Chicago Blackhawks, fired two goals including the winner with 5:02 to play to give the Jets their first season-opening win in their three years back in Winnipeg.

Rookies Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba also beat Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk.

Bryan Little had Winnipeg's other goal and goalie Ondrej Pavelec was very good in the third period with 14 saves.

Trouba knotted the tying goal at 9:06 of the final period, stepping up to intercept a risky Oilers pass in the neutral zone and returning the puck to the Oilers zone for a big slapshot.

The Jets rallied from a 4-2 deficit at the game's half-way point.

Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky had staked the home team to the two-goal margin with goals less than five minutes apart, but before the second was over, Frolik confirmed the Jets' continuing interest in the result with a hard shot to cut it to 4-3 by the intermission.

 

Doling it out

Under the category of trust, any wondering that Jets coach Claude Noel would be hesitant to play his rookies Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba got an initial answer on Tuesday night.

Noel sent Trouba into the deep end in his first NHL game, playing the 19-year-old 15 minutes in the first two periods and 25:02 overall.

Scheifele, looking fairly confident in the middle of the second line with Evander Kane and Devin Setoguchi, made his fair share of things happen on Tuesday, and wasn't far behind in playing time, 13:14 after two periods and 17:58 for the night.

 

Hurt by killing

Kind of like last season's start, the penalty killing was a huge liability.

Edmonton scored on its first two chances of the game, needing only 39 seconds of advantage time for the first two goals. One game does not a trend make, but it's a start that could cause a jitter or two, given that the Jets were 59 per cent in penalty killing eight games into last season.

 

Power in that start

The league's worst power play in the 2013 shortened season got off to a good start on Tuesday night. Jets rookie Mark Scheifele scored his second NHL goal on the team's first chance, tying the game at 3:25. Winnipeg went one for two with the man advantage in the first.

Last season, it scored at a clip of 13.8 per cent.

 

Shuffling early

With Grant Clitsome's injury, Jets coach Claude Noel shuffled his defence pairings yet again. The hope had been to play Clitsome with Dustin Byfuglien early in the season, but Byfuglien went back to his partner from the majority of the last two seasons, Toby Enstrom.

That left Zach Bogosian, who was going to start with Enstrom, to take on rookie Jacob Trouba. Winnipeg's third pair was Mark Stuart, Trouba's projected mentor/partner for the start of the season, and Paul Postma.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 2, 2013 C1

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Updated on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 7:14 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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