NHL Game Summary - Winnipeg at Edmonton
(Tuesday, October 1st)
Final Score: Winnipeg 5, Edmonton 4
Edmonton, AB (SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Frolik scored the game-winner with 5:02 remaining in the third period to lift his new team, the Winnipeg Jets, over the Edmonton Oilers, 5-4, in the season opener at Rexall Place.
Jacob Trouba, the ninth overall pick in the 2012 draft, tied the game with a blistering slap shot midway through the third period in his first NHL game, and Winnipeg held on after Frolik's second tally.
"It was a good finish by us and a good turnaround," Frolik said.
Mark Scheifele and Bryan Little also added goals for the Jets, who moved from the Eastern Conference over to the West's Central Division following the NHL's realignment.
Ondrej Pavelec shook off a slow start, allowing four goals on 24 shots through the first two periods, but turned away all 14 shots he faced in the third to come away victorious.
Devan Dubnyk had a dubious opening, making just 23 saves and surrendering all five goals in the setback.
"I just got to be better," Dubnyk said. "I got to give these guys a better opportunity of winning the game."
Boyd Gordon and Jesse Joensuu both scored in their first game with the Oilers after signing as free agents in the offseason. Mike Brown and Ales Hemsky were Edmonton's other goal scorers.
Dallas Eakins, Edmonton's fifth different head coach in the last six seasons, lost in his debut.
Eakins was brought in to snap the Oilers' postseason drought, which has been going on since their run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006. The Jets also missed out on the playoffs for the seventh straight year by just four points last season, but showed Tuesday they have some fight by scoring the last three goals.
Frolik's turnaround shot from the left circle late in the second period pulled the visitors within one, and Trouba tied the game, 4-4, at the 11:06 mark of the third when he picked off a Taylor Hall pass in the neutral zone and fired a slap shot that caught Dubnyk flat-footed.
Frolik, acquired in an offseason trade with the Chicago Blackhawks, was credited with the game-winner a little later, but only because he was in the right spot to tap in Eric Tangradi's nifty no-look backhand pass.
Edmonton had a slew chances in the closing minutes, including several during a power play brought on by Winnipeg's too many men on the ice penalty. Mark Arcobello had the best opportunity, but his snap shot from 10 feet away was swallowed up by Pavelec.
The goaltenders were anything but impregnable early on, with Brown tipping a Luke Gazdic pass to beat Pavelec off a faceoff just 2:21 into the game.
A delay of game penalty 24 seconds later put the Oilers a man down, and even though Dubnyk appeared to have the angle on Scheifele barreling down the left side, he allowed a wrister to fly over his left shoulder at the 3:25 mark.
The back-and-forth continued late in the frame when Little skated untouched through the offensive zone and flicked one stick-side that found the back of the net with 3:48 remaining.
Winnipeg's first lead lasted less than two minutes as Edmonton cashed in its own power play. Crisp passing resulted in a clean chance for Justin Schultz, whose shot from the point was deftly redirected by Gordon in front.
Hemsky broke a 2-2 tie 3:38 into the middle stanza when he stickhandled around a flailing Blake Wheeler and snuck one past Pavelec, and Joensuu padded Edmonton's lead by chipping in a bouncing puck on the power play at the 7:53 mark.
This was the first time Winnipeg visited Edmonton for a regular season game since rejoining the NHL in 2011-12. The previous meeting between the clubs in Edmonton came on March 29, 1996 ... The Oilers had won their season opener the previous three years ... Eakins spent the past eight seasons in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, serving as their AHL affiliate's coach from 2009-12 ... Dustin Byfuglien had three assists for the Jets.
10/02 02:11:22 ET