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Mar 25, 2024 5:12 pm

Oilers, Jets square off in search of late-season kick

Zach Hyman

Following extended runs of success, both the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers have hit a snag.

The Jets are out to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat Tuesday night against the Oilers, who have dropped two straight.

From Feb. 10-March 19, Winnipeg (44-22-5) went 14-5-0. The Jets won three straight, including the first two stops last week – at Columbus and the New York Rangers — on a five-game road trip. But things took a turn with consecutive losses to the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Washington Capitals.

Winnipeg, third in the Central Division, was outscored 13-4 in the three defeats including Sunday’s 3-0 loss to the Capitals.

“Obviously this time of year, it’s all about wins,” Jets forward Mason Appleton said. “Go back home, get back to work. Find a way to start winning again.”

Despite Sunday’s result, the Jets felt their effort was strong, They kept the Capitals to 19 shots during a game that was scoreless until the third period.

“You kind of leave with a bitter taste in your mouth, but knowing that you left it on the line,” Appleton said.

“We’ll get back home and stack some wins here.”

Five straight home games could help. So could a visit from the Oilers, who allowed 11 goals in back-to-back losses at Toronto and Ottawa that followed 9-1-2 stretch.

Second in the Pacific Division, Edmonton (42-23-4) led 3-1 early in the second period Sunday against the Senators, then allowed four answered goals. Ottawa scored on three of its four power-play chances. Edmonton allowed three opponent power-play goals in the previous 10 contests.

“It’s disappointing that we didn’t come up with two points,” said Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch, whose club is amid a 1-3-1 road rut.

Perhaps overshadowed by Sunday’s defeat, Edmonton superstar Connor McDavid became the first NHL player to record at least 90 assists since Joe Thornton in 2006-07. And he is the first Oilers player to do it since Wayne Gretzky in 1987-88.

Teammate Zach Hyman became the seventh player in Oilers history to record 50 goals with his fourth in three games Sunday.

“It was nice to see a guy – a hard-working, honest guy – reach a milestone like that,” Knoblauch said of Hyman.

Hyman, though, has posted only a single assist while Edmonton earned three points from two games versus Winnipeg this season. McDavid, who has 41 assists over his past 21 games, has 12 goals and 42 assists in 31 career games against the Jets.

Edmonton’s Stuart Skinner has allowed 12 goals amid a 1-1-1 stretch after yielding 10 during his previous 5-0-1 run. Backup Calvin Pickard faced just 15 shots versus Ottawa, but allowed four goals.

The Jets’ Kyle Connor has three goals and five assists in his past eight games versus Edmonton. Connor, though, has gone without a point in Winnipeg’s past three contests.

Teammate Mark Scheifele, the Jets’ leader with 63 points, has been blanked in the past two games.

Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck allowed eight goals while starting both ends of a back-to-back this weekend. He posted a 1.76 goals-against average while winning three of his previous four starts.

Hellebuyck stopped 74 of 78 shots in the two games against the Oilers this season. His backup, Laurent Brossoit (2.05 goals-against average) had his five-game starting winning streak ended while making 37 saves during last week’s 4-1 loss to the Devils.

–Field Level Media

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