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Trouba's goal lifts Jets in OT

The SportsXchange

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- The kids were hot Saturday for the Winnipeg Jets.

First-year defenseman Jacob Trouba scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, and rookie center Mark Scheifele scored a huge third-period goal as the Jets earned a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Winnipeg (22-23-5) has won three straight contests since Paul Maurice took over as head coach a week ago.

The Oilers (15-30-6) finished a woeful four-game NHL trip with one point.

Oilers left-winger David Perron knotted the game, 2-2, with his 18th goal of the season with two minutes left in the third period. He deflected a blast from blueliner Jeff Petry past goalie Ondrej Pavelec to give Edmonton life.

Trouba's goals, his sixth and seventh of the 2013-14 campaign, were similar. The Jets' first-round selection in the 2012 entry draft crashed the goal and picked up loose pucks in front of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

Trouba is second in goal-scoring for NHL rookie defenseman, behind Torey Krug of Boston, who has 10.

"It's exciting," Trouba said. "(Bryan Little) and (Blake Wheeler) get all the credit for what they did. I just stood in front of the net, so I thought they definitely made the plays. I just found my way to an open spot.

"You have to pick your spots and you can't get caught or give up odd-man rushes. You have to pick the right times to do it."

In the extra period, right-winger Wheeler missed on a partial breakaway, but gathered the puck and fed to the low slot, where a streaking Trouba wasted no time firing in the winner at 1:10.

His earlier goal game with the Jets shorthanded and tied the game, 1-1, at 5:48 of the third period.

Little carried the puck into the Oilers' zone, moved around two sprawling defenders and slid the puck to Trouba, who scored on Winnipeg's 30th shot of the game.

The Jets had plenty of jump in front of another sold-out crowd at MTS Centre, outshooting the Oilers, 39-22.

Trouba said the Jets have been energized since Maurice took over as head coach after Claude Noel was fired on Jan. 12.

"We're playing with a lot more energy, a lot more passion, and it's showing," he said. "Our fans are eating it up. Our guys have responded."

Right-winger Jordan Eberle gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead with a power-play marker, his 16th goal of the season, at 6:59 of the middle frame.

Trouba tied the game early in the third period, and then Scheifele scored the go-ahead goal just over five minutes later. He took a big hit in the corner but held onto the puck, crashed the net and swatted in his own rebound for his ninth goal, and first on home ice this season.

Interestingly, in five of the seven games Trouba has scored, Scheifele also has scored.

"I think we just push each other," Scheifele said. "Whenever he scores, I want to score. I don't want to be shown up by him. And whenever I score, he wants to score. Definitely, we're really happy.

"Obviously, winning three games is good. But the big thing coach Maurice has kept in our minds is we have to keep an even keel. We can't get too high, and we can't get too low. The team is taking it to heart. We can't go into our next games all high for winning three in a row."

The Jets head south for two difficult games, as they face the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday and San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

Maurice said he's not surprised the youngsters are playing prominent roles as the Jets try to climb back into the playoff race in the Central Division.

And his comments on Trouba and Scheifele drew big laughs from the press corps.

"They're just good players," Maurice said. "They're on our team. There isn't a kiddie section here, (where) they're just in our locker room and we feed them. They're good players."

Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins was impressed with the way the Jets drove to the net.

"The one thing they did excellent was they went to the net and they went hard," Eakins said. "It looks like they're trying to take a page out of the L.A.s and St. Louises and Anaheims, and bully you in front of your net. They did that extremely well.

"As our (defense) gets stronger, we'll be able to defend that a little better.

NOTES: The afternoon battle between the Jets and Oilers kicked off Hockey Day in Canada. Across the country, Ottawa hosted the New York Rangers in a matinee NHL meeting, while Toronto hosted Montreal and Calgary visited Vancouver. ... Edmonton played without RW Ales Hemsky (ankle) and RW Nail Yakupov (concussion protocol). Yakupov was hammered into the boards by Minnesota LW Matt Cooke on Thursday night. ... Jets D Grant Clitsome underwent season-ending back surgery Thursday at the Marina Spine Center in California. He hasn't played since he was injured Dec. 17. ... Winnipeg RW Dustin Byfgulien joined the 500-game club on Saturday against the Oilers. Over his career, he's played most of the time on defense, but skated as a forward the last four games. Byfuglien entered Saturday's game on a four-game point streak, with two goals and four assists. ... Edmonton LW Ryan Smyth is approaching a team milestone. He ranks third in Oilers all-time power-play goals (124), trailing only Wayne Gretzky (125) and Glenn Anderson (126). ... Jets first-year C Mark Scheifele recorded his NHL rookie-leading 18th assist on Thursday against the Flames and also scored the game winner. He is tied for third among NHL rookies in points with 27, with nine goals and 18 assists over 50 games.

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