The Winnipeg Jets are nearly through their eight-game regular season series with the Edmonton Oilers. However, the team has just two wins in those eight games and is currently on its first four-game losing streak of the season.
Although Winnipeg and Edmonton will meet on Wednesday for the final time before the shortened 56-game season concludes, Jets fans will need to get used to Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Mike Smith, as the Oilers and Jets are on a near-inevitable crash course for a first round playoff matchup in late-May.
On Monday, the two teams clashed in the penultimate game of the series, with Edmonton taking the cake in a 6-1 blowout that saw Winnipeg play without injured forwards Nikolaj Ehlers and Adam Lowry. Entering the game just 2-5-0 against the Oilers this season, the Jets had actually lost their last three games against Edmonton, dating back to March 18 in Alberta.
Monday’s game was no better than the past three matchups. Actually it was worse… much, much worse.
A fast-paced opening period saw its first goal late in the frame off the stick of Alex Chiasson. Just a minute after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins rang a shot off the outside of the pipe, Leon Draisaitl collected a puck down low, dished it to Adam Larsson, who slid the disc over to Chiasson, who one-timed a low shot past Connor Hellebuyck, giving Edmonton the first goal of the game with 3:38 left to play in the opening frame.
Just two minutes later, a failed Pierre-Luc Dubois setup play in the offensive zone led to an Edmonton rush up ice. With all three Oilers forwards engaging on the play, defenceman Tyson Barrie got the puck to Connor McDavid, who chipped his 26th of the year into the cage, giving Edmonton a 2-0 lead.
Winnipeg finished the first period down 2-0, despite leading shot chart 12-10.
The middle stanza was an absolute disaster from the Jets’ point of view. The team gave up four goals, including markers No. 2 and 3 for McDavid who completed his two-period hat trick for the ninth three-goal game of his career. He scored his second of the game on his second break up ice in a matter of 45 seconds. Outreaching Neal Pionk’s stick, McDavid tucked a half clapper through Hellebuyck’s five-hole, giving Edmonton a 3-0 lead.
Then with 8:20 to go in the frame, Leon Draisaitl scored his 23rd of the season on a perfect one-timer on a feed from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on a two-on-one up ice. Then just a minute-and-a-half later, Darnell Nurse put the finishing touches on yet another odd-man rush up ice, with McDavid and Jesse Puljujarvi picking up the helpers on Edmonton’s fifth goal of the game.
But then with Edmonton’s Josh Archibald in the box for hooking, Mark Scheifele scored a power play marker for his 199th career goal and 499th career NHL point. A nice setup play saw Blake Wheeler and Paul Stastny move the puck before Scheifele finished it off with a rocket that found its way past the near unbeatable Mike Smith, cutting the Oilers’ lead to 5-1.
But just minutes later, a Connor McDavid breakaway marker restored that five-goal lead. In picking up his team’s sixth goal, McDavid’s hat trick gave him an astounding seven goals and 19 points in just eight games against Winnipeg this season.
Pretty incredible stat on Connor McDavid's season vs. the #NHLJets:
Through eight games, he has yet to record less than two points in any outing vs. Winnipeg.
He has seven goals and 19 points in those eight games.
Four point games (1)
Three point games (1)
Two point games (6)
— Carter Brooks (@CBrooksie84) April 27, 2021
Hellebuyck’s night came to an end through 40 minutes of play. He finished with just 17 stops on 23 shots faced for a measly .739 save percentage. His record fell to 21-14-3 on the season. Laurent Brossoit came in in relief for the third period, turning aside all seven of Edmonton’s shots. Mike Smith collected his 17th win of the season, stopping 36 of Winnipeg’s 37 shots on the night.
With the win, Edmonton leapfrogged Winnipeg for second place in the division with a 28-16-2 record for 58 points, while also holding two games in hand on the Jets. Winnipeg is now 27-18-3.
The Jets and Oilers will reconvene on Wednesday evening from Bell MTS Place, where the expected first round playoff matchup gets one more trial run. With the Toronto Maple Leafs likely locked into the first place seed in the North Division, Winnipeg and Edmonton will likely finish in the second and third seeds, teeing up a seven-game series between the western Canada rivals. Puck drop on Wednesday is also set for 8:00 PM central. The game can be viewed live on TSN.