Brendan Lemieux picked a good way to double his career goal totals.
Lemieux scored a pair, including the game winner, as the Winnipeg Jets ended 2018 on an upbeat note by defeating the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 on Monday.
Lemieux, the 22-year-old son of former former NHLer Claude Lemieux, had previously scored just two goals in 31 career games.
“It felt great, it’s good to be a difference-maker,” Lemieux said. “I thought our line played really well tonight. That was the first time we’ve had that dynamic with (Andrew Copp) in the middle and (Jack Roslovic) on the wing. I loved our game. There was some stuff we could clean up, but I was really happy with our line tonight.”
Brandon Tanev and Blake Wheeler also scored for the Jets (25-12-2), who snapped a two-game losing skid.
“The first four shifts of the game I didn’t love, but after that we got better at breaking pucks out, we were a little faster and we hit the middle an awful lot, which is a pretty good tell if we’re moving right,” said Jets head coach Paul Maurice.
Leon Draisaitl had a pair of goals and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the other for the Oilers (18-18-3), who lost all five games of their recent homestand and have dropped six in a row overall.
“It was definitely a better effort than the game before, but it was still not good enough to beat a team like that,” Draisaitl said. “We are making too many little mistakes and that starts with me and the top guys. We have to clean that up.”
Edmonton was first on the board with a goal coming with five minutes left in the first period as Connor McDavid displayed a burst of speed to get past a defender along the boards. McDavid then sent the puck in front for Nugent-Hopkins, who beat Jets starter Connor Hellebuyck for his 14th of the season.
The Jets tied the game five minutes into the second frame when a long shot by Jacob Trouba was tipped by Tanev past Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen.
Winnipeg scored again about a minute later as a big scramble in front of the net ended with the puck slipping under Koskinen. The goal was credited to Lemieux.
The Oilers pulled even with a power-play goal with two minutes left in the second on a one-timer blast from Draisaitl. It was his 20th of the season.
Winnipeg got that goal back just 29 seconds later when Wheeler picked the top corner.
Edmonton knotted the game up again seven minutes into the third period when McDavid picked off a pass and fed it in front to Draisaitl, who beat Hellebuyck with a backhand shot.
The Jets surged back in front with six minutes remaining on another goal by Lemieux, whose second goal of the game stood up as the winner as Hellebuyck robbed Draisaitl in tight with just 23 seconds left to preserve the win.
“As we always say, we just need one and that’s the one we needed,” Maurice said of the save of the night, which helped his goalie capture his 100th NHL win.
The Oilers begin a four-game road trip in Arizona on Wednesday, while the Jets are off until Friday, when they travel to Pittsburgh.