The Winnipeg Jets had a chance to move into a tie for first in the NHL’s North Division, but the league’s leading scorer had something to say about that.
Connor McDavid scored twice and the Edmonton Oilers picked up a 2-1 win over the Jets.
McDavid now has 20 goals and 58 points in just 33 games.
The win moves the Oilers (20-13-0) into a tie with the Toronto Maple Leafs for top spot in the North.
With the loss to start their longest road trip of the season, the Jets (18-10-2) fall to third place, just two points back of both teams.
The Jets only allowed 21 shots on goal and didn’t have very many defensive breakdowns, but when they did, McDavid made them pay.
“He’s the most explosive player in our league for a reason,” Jets forward Mark Scheifele said. “You saw that tonight. You give him a little bit of space – he’s going to make you pay. And he’s gonna make the teammates around him better.”
The Jets are now 3-2 in the second half of back-to-back games this season after just beating the Montreal Canadiens the night before.
The shots were only 6-4 for the Jets after the opening period which was probably a result of both teams completing a back-to-back. Toss in an overnight flight to Edmonton for the Jets and there were some tired legs on the ice.
“There was a bit of fatigue for sure,” Jets forward Mathieu Perreault said. “Probably on both sides. We know how skilled they are. So, our game plan was to take the middle away, and try to keep them to the outside, and block some shots, play hard defensively, so usually this is kinda what happens. You don’t give up too many shots.”
“I think if this game was played tomorrow night, we’d be back to lots of big chances at both ends of the ice,” head coach Paul Maurice said. “I think both teams beat the hell out of the puck tonight.
“They battled hard. Everybody worked real hard, but if you’re gonna run in the schedule that both teams are running, and you put them back-to-back on travel – there’s not gonna be a lot of silkiness to what gets done out there.”
A win by the Jets would have tied the franchise record for most points in the first 30 games of the season.
All of the goals came in the second period, as McDavid opened the scoring 3:53 into the middle frame. The Jets struck back at the 12:43 mark thanks to Perreault’s seventh of the season, a deflection off a Nate Thompson shot.
But McDavid wouldn’t let the game stay tied long as just 38 seconds later he put in his 20th of the season which would turn out to be the game-winner.
The Oilers scored an empty-netter in the final minutes, but the goal was overturned when the Jets challenged for offside.
Scheifele blocked a shot with his lower leg near the end of the first period and appeared to be in a ton of pain. After being hunched over on the bench, he hobbled to the dressing room without putting any weight on his injured leg. But Scheifele returned for the start of the second period and after the game said he was fine.
Laurent Brossoit started in net for the Jets making 19 saves while Mikko Koskinen made 24 saves for the Oilers.
The Jets are in the midst of a stretch that will see them play 12 of 14 games on the road.
The two teams meet again Saturday night with the pregame show on 680 CJOB beginning at 7 p.m., and the puck dropping shortly after 9 p.m.
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