WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP)Tyson Barrie and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and an assist as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 Wednesday night.
Leon Draisaitl added a late empty-netter, and Connor McDavid had assists on all three goals for the Oilers, who have won four of their last five games. Mikko Koskinen stopped 29 shots for his 11th win of the season.
The Oilers are 7-2-1 in April and are finding their form as they push toward the playoffs.
”We had a bit of a shaky start to this season. But we just stuck with it, we didn’t get down on ourselves and ever since then, we’ve kind of been rolling,” Nugent-Hopkins said. ”Things are going well for us right now but we can’t take our foot off the gas here. We’ve got to keep pushing and striving to get better every day.”
Blake Wheeler scored for Winnipeg, and Connor Hellebuyck had 24 saves. The Jets lost their fifth straight.
”We’re going to snap out of this and it’s going to be big,” Hellebuyck said. ”And we’re going to carry that momentum. So it’s just a matter of time.”
Edmonton won seven of nine in the season series and sits in second place in the North Division – seven points behind Toronto. Winnipeg is third, three points behind the Oilers.
”It was a step in the right direction tonight, but nothing’s going our way,” Wheeler said.
Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead with their second power-play goal of the night at 6:20 of the second period. With Wheeler for a double-minor for high-sticking, Nugent-Hopkins fired a shot in past the far post just 12 seconds into the man advantage. The Oilers’ forward has 14 goals on the season, including five against the Jets.
”Obviously special teams is huge,” Nugent-Hopkins said. ”The power play, sometimes that’s the way you win games and tonight it got the job done for us.”
The Jets pushed hard for the equalizer in the third, outshooting the Oilers 8-1 across the first half of the period, but couldn’t get a puck past Koskinen. Winnipeg got a chance with the man advantage when Kailer Yamamoto was sent to the penalty box for slashing with 4 1/2 minutes left.
Paul Stastny had an excellent chance in tight midway through the power play but Koskinen punched the wrist shot away with his blocker. Yamamoto picked up the puck as he returned to the ice and streaked away on a breakaway. Hellebuyck’s diving, spread-eagle save kept the score at 2-1.
McDavid helped set up Draisaitl’s empty-net goal, slipping the puck up the boards through the neutral zone as time ticked down. The German forward slid a shot into the yawning net for his 24th goal of the season with 9 seconds left.
The Oilers opened the scoring with a power-play goal 11:52 into the game after Wheeler was called for tripping. McDavid sliced a pass to Barrie at the top of the slot and the defenseman fired it past Hellebuyck into the top of the net for his seventh of the season.
Wheeler drew Winnipeg even 4 1/2 minutes into the second with his first goal since March 26. Andrew Copp forced Dmitry Kulikov to turn over the puck along the end boards, and then shipped the puck out to Wheeler in the right face-off circle and the Jets’ captain fired a shot past Koskinen for his 11th.
Edmonton regained the lead less than 2 minutes later.
The Oilers were 2 for 3 with the man advantage. Winnipeg was 0 for 1.
McDavid has 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) against the Jets this season. He is also on a five-game point streak with five goals and 10 assists since April 10.
Oilers: At Calgary on Thursday night.
Jets: At Montreal on Friday night.