EDMONTON, AB - The visiting Winnipeg Jets stretched their win streak to five games, jumping on the Oilers early and skating to a 4-1 win at Rexall Place.
“They played a very solid game,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said of the Jets. “They played with good structure, they competed hard and 5-on-5 I thought we were competing hard as well. It really came down to special teams tonight.”
Winnipeg finished with two power play goals on four chances, while the Oilers were held scoreless on the man advantage.
At 7:32 of the first period, Jets forward Drew Stafford picked off an Oilers pass and came down the left wing, sniping a shot past Ben Scrivens for the 1-0 lead.
The Oilers lost centre Boyd Gordon (back) and defenceman Andrew Ference (upper body) to injury in the first period. Winnipeg forward Blake Wheeler took a puck to the face and left the game in the first as well, although he returned.
“Especially on defence, I think if you get down to five d-men it puts extra stress on those guys,” Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “Getting into that long shift there, it’s obviously is taxing. As forwards, we’ve got to do a great job of finding a way. You can ice the puck if it gets to that point. You’ve just got to find a way to get a whistle. It’s just having some hockey sense out there to get those guys a little bit of a rest.”
Gordon had his back seize up on him, while Ference has a lower body injury. Both will be reevaluated in the morning.
Winnipeg took a 2-0 lead at 5:31 of the second period. Scrivens couldn’t locate the loose puck in the crease and Lee Stempniak buried it behind the goaltender. Jiri Tlusty and Tyler Myers recorded the assists.
With just over seven minutes to play in the second period, Anton Lander set up Nail Yakupov in front of Ondrej Pavelec for a solid scoring chance. Yakupov tapped the pass and it fluttered into the outstretched blocker of Pavelec. Moments before that chance, Rob Klinkhammer sent a slap shot towards the net and before that, Taylor Hall had a chance from the wing. The Oilers were outshooting the Jets 19-14 at that time.
The Jets took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play at the 16:00 mark of the second to increase their lead to 3-0. Tyler Myers wristed a shot off the post and in, assisted by Toby Enstrom.
With less than 20 seconds remaining in the middle frame, Pavelec robbed Benoit Pouliot on a shorthanded. Pavelec made 32 saves in the winning effort.
“I thought we outshot them and we had our chances to comeback in the game,” said Oilers Derek Roy. “(Pavelec) made some big saves. We didn’t bury our chances to get back in the game. I thought in the third period we played pretty well but we didn’t get off to a good enough start.”
With that goal, Nugent-Hopkins tied a career-high streak with points in six straight games. It was his seventh goal in his last eight games, and 23rd of the season.
The Jets pounced on a rebound in the slot, taking back the three-goal lead. Michael Frolik scored the goal, on the power play, at 12:17 of the third. Andrew Ladd and Jay Harrison had the assists.
That would close out the scoring, with the Oilers outshooting the Jets, 33-24.