WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets came out listless on Monday night and it cost them a chance to earn some breathing room in the Eastern Conference standings.
Taylor Hall and Lennart Petrell each had a goal and an assist as the Edmonton Oilers scored four straight third-period goals to hand Winnipeg a 5-3 loss.
It was Jets’ first regulation loss in their last seven games and keeps them in eighth place in the East, one point ahead of Washington and three points up on Toronto.
“We looked like we were emotionally drained, physically drained and we didn’t have much energy,”said Winnipeg coach Claude Noel.
Ryan Jones, Jordan Eberle and defenceman Ryan Whitney also scored for Edmonton (25-31-6).
Alexander Burmistrov and Nik Antropov each tallied a goal and an assist for Winnipeg (30-27-8) while Kyle Wellwood also scored.
Winnipeg defenceman Dustin Byfuglien added two assists to extend his points’streak to a career-high seven games.
The Oilers improved their road record to 9-20-2 and piled up the goals in a second straight game away from home. They defeated Calgary 6-1 on Feb. 21 and are 3-3-0 in their last six.
“I thought we played really well,”said Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk, who made 27 saves.“It’s obviously one of the tough, if not the toughest, places to play in the league.”
Oiler veteran Ryan Smith, who assisted on Eberle’s 28th goal of the season, said the fans were a factor they had to shut out.
“Obviously, their seventh attacker (is) the fans…”Smyth said.“They’re a hungry team, they’re a desperate team and they’re in the play-off hunt.”
Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec was playing in his 53rd game and faced 25 shots in the loss, which he called a“sloppy”game for the entire squad.
“It was a weird game,”Pavelec said.“I don’t know what happened. We’ve got to be better next time.”
Noel couldn’t put his finger on exactly why his players had no zip, but guessed there may have been a few factors.
One could have been the toll of a hard-fought 3-2 shootout loss to St. Louis on Saturday, he said, while the other may be the constant pressure to gain points at home during a run for the playoffs.
And it wasn’t just a few players or a certain line that didn’t have the get-up-and-go, he said.
“We didn’t play great, I think from the goalie on out,”Noel said.“It was an average, average game.”
That was especially true in the third period.
Jets right-winger Blake Wheeler was called for high-sticking 34 seconds into the third and Jones netted his 14th goal of the season when he poked the puck in during a scramble at the front of the net at 1:54.
“I guess we felt too good about ourselves coming out in the third period,”said Antropov, who scored the game’s last goal with 1:10 left.
“That’s why they make us pay for it.”
Edmonton took the 3-2 lead 35 seconds later on a turnover.
Petrell stole the puck and then skated in and sent a low wrist shot between Pavelec’s pads at 2:29.
“It kind of got us going,”Petrell said of Jones’goal.“Obviously, we used our scoring chances, too, and that’s a big thing against a team like them.”
Edmonton outshot Winnipeg 12-7 in a scoreless first period that didn’t have any penalties, but the Jets turned the tables and outshot the visitors 10-4 in the middle frame.
Both teams went 2-for-3 with the man advantage.
Heading into the game, the Oilers’power play was ranked third in the league at 21.2 per cent, while Winnipeg’s was eighth (18.9).
“I liked the way we handled the game in general,”Edmonton head coach Tom Renney.
“It was a bit of a track meet at times, naturally, but certainly being able to come out and really go to work in the third period to put it away was important to us.”
Notes: Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, who began his NHL career with the original Jets franchise in 1994-95, didn’t make the trip because of a groin injury…Jets defenceman Zach Bogosian missed his seventh straight game with an upper-body injury…Winnipeg is 4-1 against Northwest Division opponents this season…Edmonton hosts St. Louis on Wednesday. Florida visits Winnipeg on Thursday.