Despite heavily outshooting the home town Edmonton Oilers late Saturday evening, the Winnipeg Jets fell 3-2 on the road at Rogers Arena in Alberta. Edmonton relied heavily on its top guns, while trusting netminder Mike Smith to shut the door on a persistent Winnipeg attack.
Leon Draisaitl recored point No. 100, 101 and 102 on the season, putting an exclamation mark on his second-straight 100-point season, in scoring twice and adding an assist. Both of Draisaitl’s tallies came early on power plays, while his lone assist was on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ game-winner with just over five minutes to play in the game.
The difference on Saturday was success on special teams. Edmonton went 2/2 while Winnipeg was held scoreless in its two opportunities. Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins had three points apiece, while Connor McDavid had himself a quiet evening, recording just two assists in the affair. The Jets outshot the Oilers 41-22.
With newcomer Dylan DeMelo in the box for tripping, Draisaitl opened the scoring at 6:27 of the first period on a power play, cross-ice, one-timer on a feed from McDavid. The team celebrated thoroughly, knowing it was point No. 100 on the season for the superstar.
The Jets then responded in the second period, as Logan Shaw collected a nice breakaway pass from Nick Shore, one which he made no mistake beating Smith with a wrister from the circle. Just 34 seconds after the game-tying goal, Kyle Connor collected his 33rd of the season, finishing off a strong Blake Wheeler rush up ice.
A senseless Dmitry Kulikov holding minor late in the second period led to Draisaitl’s second of the game. The big, German forward connected with McDavid once again, this time redirecting a strong shot-pass past Jets’ backstop Connor Hellebuyck. Although finding themselves up 22-13 in the shot department through 40 minutes, the Jets remained tied with the Oilers at twos, heading into the final frame.
The third period saw a continued Winnipeg offensive attack, as the team combined for another 18 shots in the frame, bringing their total to 40 pucks put on Smith in the contest. Smith, however, had Winnipeg’s number late in the third period, turning aside a number of great chances against Jack Roslovic, Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor as the game wore on. Unable to find the twine in the final period, the Jets watched as a missed defensive assignment off a face-off led to the Nugent-Hopkins game-winner with 5:16 to play.
With the loss, Winnipeg saw its record fall to 33-28-6 on the season, and will return home for a miniature three-game homestand against the Buffalo Sabres, Vegas Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes beginning on Tuesday. All three 7:00 PM central matchups will be available to view on TSN.