Todd McLennan made no apology for his bias toward Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid.
The coach only had to watch McDavid score twice and add two assists as the Oilers overcame a three-goal deficit to beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-4 Tuesday on Darnell Nurse’s goal 1:25 into overtime.
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“He’s our captain, he’s our leader,” McLellan said of McDavid. “He’s, in my opinion, the best player on earth right now and he decided that he was going to will his team to a win.”
McDavid set an NHL record for being in on his team’s first nine goals to start a season, breaking Adam Oates’ record of seven he had with Detroit in 1986-87. McDavid has four goals and five assists in four games.
“You know what, it’s whatever. I’m not overly proud of it,” McDavid said of the record. “I don’t think it’s a stat we should be proud of either.
“It is what it is, but we found a way to get a goal there at the end so we don’t ever have to talk about it again.”
Ty Rattie ignited the comeback when he scored 18 seconds into the third. McDavid recorded his second power-play goal of the game at 2:28 to squeeze Winnipeg’s lead to 4-3.
Jesse Puljujarvi tied it up at 13:39 when a shot by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins hit the Finnish forward’s stick and went past goalie Connor Hellebuyck. Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl each had a pair of assists.
Oilers’ McDavid sets NHL record in OT victory over Jets:
Jets forward Adam Lowry had a pair of goals in a three-minute span in the first period. Defenceman Ben Chiarot and centre Mark Scheifele also had a goal each.
“I just think we shot ourselves in the foot,” Lowry said. “We started to make plays at the blue line and fed into their transition game. We were on our heels in the third.
“Credit to them, they didn’t quit. They have a dynamic top line and it showed tonight.”
Nurse scored the winner unassisted when he got around Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers and beat Hellebuyck.
“Going into the third we could have gone two different ways, and 18 seconds in his line makes a huge play,” Nurse said of McDavid.
“When you have a leader like that, everyone feeds off that. For him to be able to set the tone every single game, it’s incredible.”
Hellebuyck made 30 saves for the Jets (3-2-1), who continue their season-long, six-game homestand with a game Thursday versus Vancouver.
Talbot, playing his 200th game with the Oilers (2-2-0), stopped 29 shots. Edmonton plays its first home game of the season Thursday against Boston to begin a four-game homestand.
Winnipeg had mounted a 3-1 lead in the first period.
Lowry got his first goal when he wasn’t challenged in front of the net and sent the puck past Talbot at 4:51. He then got his own rebound and his shot went under a sprawling Talbot at 7:47 to make it 2-0.
McDavid connected on the power play at 12:49, but 22 seconds later Chiarot regained his team’s two-goal lead with his point shot that had Patrik Laine providing the screen in front of the net.
Continuing a power play to start the second, Scheifele fired in his goal off the rebound of a Laine one-timer to make it 4-1 at 1:02.
“Yeah, 4-1 should be game over,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. “Our line went out, gave up one early on and gave them momentum. You’re fighting an uphill battle from there.”
It was the second straight game Winnipeg was without injured defenceman Dustin Byfuglien (lower body).