WINNIPEG — It may only be the pre-season, but Edmonton Oilers forward Rob Klinkhammer already likes his team’s no-quit mentality.
Klinkhammer was instrumental in Edmonton’s 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night as the second-year Oiler provided the tying goal late in the third period.
His goal capped off an impressive rally for the Oilers, who found themselves down 3-0 after 40 minutes.
“That’s a huge character thing for us,” Klinkhammer said. “To show the organization — to show ourselves — that we can do that. We didn’t fold. We didn’t give up. We just kept coming at them.
“Sometimes, people thought we had issues with that last year. So to see the guys not give up and keep working, that was a big thing.”
Klinkhammer’s goal sent the game to the NHL’s newly-minted 3-on-3 overtime format, where Anton Slepyshev fired home the winner at the 2:43 mark.
Anton Lander and Lauri Korpikoski also scored for the Oilers (4-0-0) in a 3:42 span to force extra time.
J.C. Lipon, Ben Chiarot and Andrew Copp hit the back for the net for the Jets (0-1-2) in the second period.
Ben Scrivens steered aside 31 shots for the win. Ondrej Pavelec allowed four goals on 39 shots for the loss.
“It’s a lesson for everybody,” Pavelec said after the loss. “I should be able to close out the game, but it didn’t happen and we lost in overtime.
“Every time we play, we want to win. We tried to build something here, but to lose in overtime, it was a tough game to play. It’s just an exhibition game, it’s in the back of your head, but we have to have the attitude that we want to win every game.”
Both teams sat key players.
The Jets were without Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little, with the latter two yet to see game action in pre-season. Connor McDavid, the Oilers first-overall selection, did not dress for Edmonton.
The Oilers had three chances on the power play in the first period but Pavelec stopped all 11 shots he faced while playing a man down.
Winnipeg opened the scoring at 6:55 of the second as Lipon scored his first goal of the pre-season on a tap into an empty net.
Chase De Leo hit Lipon with a slick cross-ice feed, which rendered Oilers netminder Scrivens helpless.
The Jets doubled their advantage five minutes later as Chiarot let a floater go from the point, which sailed behind Scrivens through a crowd to make it 2-0.
Copp tapped in his first of pre-season just over two minutes later for the three-goal lead.
Nic Petan got the initial shot on goal and Chris Thorburn got a whack at it before the former University of Michigan start slotted home.
“At the stage we’re in right now, we’ll take it,” Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said. “I thought a lot of players handled it well. It’s something we need to learn, game in and game out.”
The Oilers picked up two quick goals in the third period with Lander tapping one past Pavelec and Korpikoski redirecting a slap-pass from Nikita Nikitin.
Despite going just 1-for-8 on the power play, McLellan said it was his team that won the day on special teams.
“We got a goal (on the power play) and one shorthanded… it allows us to come back,” he said. “Getting them to understand the concept (on the powerplay) is way more important to me than the percentages. The goal that we scored on, the concepts were in play. That’s exciting to see.”
Scott Billeck, The Canadian Press