EDMONTON—Patrik Laine has scored a lot of big goals in his rookie season with the Winnipeg Jets. Unfortunately, he scored a big goal for the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
Laine accidentally rifled the puck into his own net as the Oilers snapped a four-game losing skid with a 3-2 victory over the Jets. The winner was credited to Edmonton forward Mark Letestu and stood as the game winner.
Laine was clearly not in the mood to discus his late-game gaffe.
“I think everybody saw what happened. That’s my comments,” said the Finnish rookie, who has 17 goals for the Jets in just 32 games. “It was just a bad position for me. An unfortunate goal.”
Letestu has had five of his six goals this season come against Winnipeg. He’s scored nine goals in 15 career games against the Jets.
“I can’t really explain it,” Letestu said. “The puck just goes in on certain nights. I think it’s just coincidental that it’s been against this team. A really lucky third goal and on the power play, Connor (McDavid) finds me in a good spot.”
Oscar Klefbom also scored for the Oilers (15-11-5), who improved to 7-6-1 at home.
“These points are huge,” said Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “It’s nice to be in the fight right now. We’re battling every night and every point is so big? we just have to find a way to get those points because it’s a tight race right now. We’ve put ourselves in the (division) lead and we have to keep it rolling.”
Mathieu Perreault and Chris Thorburn scored for the Jets (13-16-3), who have now lost four straight games.
Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice sympathized with Laine’s bad luck.
“Every guy in the National Hockey League’s got a goal like that,” he said. “Every defenceman, it goes in off them, so he has a story to tell.”
Winnipeg started the scoring with 5:10 left to play in the first period when a Bryan Little tip went off the post, but Perreault got two whacks at it, sweeping it in past outstretched Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.
Edmonton came close late in the first on a power play, but Jordan Eberle’s one-timer hit the crossbar behind Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
The Oilerst ied the game two minutes into the second period when a huge rebound from a Tyler Pitlick shot came to Klefbom, who hammered home his fifth of the season.
Winnipeg regained the lead with eight minutes to play in the second period as Thorburn scored on a nice feed in front from Marko Dano.
Edmonton looked to have pulled even again two minutes later, but a Zack Kassian breakaway goal was deemed to be offside upon review.
The Oilers made it 2-2 2:28 into the third period on the power play as Connor McDavid set up Letestu for a chip shot goal in front.
Edmonton got a break to go ahead 3-2 with 8:39 to play in the third as Laine swatted a shot into his own net with some authority in an attempt to clear it, giving Letestu credit for his second of the game.
“He’s 18 years old. He feels terrible,” said Jets captain Blake Wheeler. “These things happen. I’ve done it many times”
The Oilers remain at home to play Columbus on Tuesday. The Jets are off until Thursday, when they will play host to the Florida Panthers.
Notes: It was the third and final meeting between the two teams this season. The Oilers also won both previous games in Winnipeg, shutting out the Jets 3-0 at the Heritage Classic in October, and then won the second game 6-3 to start December.