Paul Coffey scored two goals and had three assists tonight to power the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-2 victory before 16,942, over the Winnipeg Jets. Edmonton, the Stanley Cup champions, now hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Smythe Division finals series.
Coffey, who finished the season with 28 points in the final 11 games, has 10 points in five playoff games to tie him with Ken Linseman of Boston and Peter Stastny of Quebec for the lead in playoff scoring.
Coffey's five points also equaled the playoff record for points by a defenseman in a single game, The record was set in 1942 by Ed Bush and later tied by Bob Dailey and Denis Potvin. He assisted on goals by Wayne Gretzky, Kevin McClelland and Mark Messier.
Last year Coffey, 23, had 22 points in 19 playoff games.
"There's not much we can do about him," said Winnipeg Coach Barry Long. "We try to pick him up but he has awesome speed, a tremendous shot . . . it's tough to cover him."
"I've seen him play better," Wayne Gretzky said of Coffey. "Goals are not everything. That's not to take anything away from his game tonight but he's played great the last 10 games."
Coffey made a perfect rink-wide pass to send Gretzky in for the first goal. Gretzky broke down the left side, faked a slap shot then hit the far corner with a low wrist shot to put the Oilers ahead, 1-0, at 8:21 of the first period. It was Gretzky's second playoff goal, following an empty-net effort to close the first game. It was also the Oilers' first power-play goal of the playoffs in 14 attempts.
The Jets tied with a power-play goal at 10:17. Defenseman Robert Picard fired a long wrist shot through the legs of Fuhr, who was screened by the Jets' Laurie Boschman.
The Oilers quickly regained the lead as Kevin McClelland took Glenn Anderson's pass from behind the net and put a backhander under Brian Hayward at 11:33. Hayward missed Winnipeg's two previous games because of a groin injury and looked shaky.
The Oilers' power play struck again at 14:11. Coffey skated in from the point, cut in front of the net and, as he was falling, snapped a shot into the top right corner to give the Oilers a 3-1 lead after one period.
Coffey opened the second period with a shorthanded goal at 1:03. He went the length of the ice then unleashed a blast from the blueline that went under Hayward's armpit into the top left corner.
The Oilers' Mark Messier and Winnipeg's Thomas Steen traded goals to close the scoring.
Edmonton goalie Grant Fuhr blocked 30 shots.
The series shifts to Winnipeg for Games 3 and 4 Tuesday and Thursday.