Oilers beat Jets
EDMONTON—Jesse Joensuu was one of the least heralded free-agent signings the Edmonton Oilers made this summer, but he’s starting to make a name for himself now.
The 25-year-old Finnish forward scored his third goal of the pre-season, and was named the game’s first star, as the Oilers won their third-consecutive game, defeating the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 last night.
A sports hernia limited Joensuu to just seven games in his return to the Islanders last season before he opted to sign on with Edmonton.
It has been a long road for the 6’4”, 210-pound winger, but he feels he’s finally poised to make his mark on a regular basis at the NHL level.
“I’m just really happy that I have been able to compete with everyone at the same level and that I am not hurt,” said Joensuu, who has four points in four exhibition outings.
“Compared to my previous training camps with the Islanders, this is like night and day,” he added.
“I feel like I belong and am competing at the same level as the guys I want to play with.
“Before I was just trying to survive and didn’t feel comfortable at all,” he noted.
Oilers’ head coach Dallas Eakins said Joensuu has made a very good case for himself to this point.
“He has played nothing but well for me,” said Eakins. “We need that size and he brings that.
“He protects the puck well and is strong on his stick.
“The other thing I like is that he is vocal on the bench,” Eakins added. “You don’t get that a lot sometimes from the European guys.
“He is vocal and into the game, which is another thing we value here.”
Will Acton also scored for the Oilers (4-1-1), who did not dress many of their top offensive threats for the game.
Chris Thorburn replied for the Jets (1-3-2), who now have lost three-straight in exhibition play.
In other pre-season action, Montreal nipped New Jersey 3-2, Calgary beat the N.Y. Rangers 4-1, Minnesota downed Columbus 2-1 (SO), Pittsburgh shaded Chicago 3-2 (SO), Boston edged Washington 3-2 (OT), and Vancouver dumped Phoenix 6-1.