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Jets give Oilers "too much respect" in 6-3 loss

Laine scores two power-play goals but Jets fall in third of a three-game home stand

by Ryan Dittrick @ryandittrick / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - The high-flying Edmonton Oilers came into the night with their offence in a rut, scoring just five goals and going 0-for-12 on the power play in their past three games, all defeats.

No more.

The Oilers, led by Mark Letestu and Leon Draisaitl's greasy two-goal efforts, got three on the power play Thursday to help them sail past the Jets by a 6-3 margin.

The Jets, who had a five-game home winning streak come to an end, had only one successful penalty kill.

With the win, the Oilers improve to 8-1 this year when scoring at least one power-play marker.

Patrik Laine scored twice for the Jets - both on the power play - while Connor Hellebuyck made 23 saves, but was pulled after the sixth Oilers goal.

Michael Hutchinson finished the game, posting four saves.

Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler

"They definitely have some firepower, but we gave them too much space - too much time and space - and too much respect tonight," Jets captain Blake Wheeler said.

"Players of that calibre are going to make you pay."

The Jets had a 2-1 lead after the first period, despite being outshot, and had the better of the play in the second as well, but the penalties proved costly.

"We didn't check hard enough and we weren't physical by any means," said Head Coach Paul Maurice, who blamed the Jets' four stick fouls on "carelessness."

"Three (power play) goals are a function of the 5-on-5 game," the coach added. "We didn't defend hard or quick enough. Pucks at our net, we were late getting back to them and they were banging in rebounds"

Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice

The Jets had 26 shot attempts in the middle frame - exactly double that of the Oilers.

"We weren't quick to check, our gap was off and we were late and tentative with (the puck)," Maurice said. "They were probably real good for the first 30 (minutes) and a big chunk of the rest we would have had a big chunk of the offensive zone time and the chances for. I don't think we gave ourselves a chance to match or consider the match of speed. … We were just slow."

Down by two early in the third period, back-to-back tripping penalties (Kris Russell and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) gave the Jets a 1:14-long 5-on-3. Laine made work of it, powering a Herculean-like one-timer off the bar and in to cut the Edmonton lead to one.

Video: POSTGAME | Patrik Laine

Laine now has a team-leading 15 goals, but that was as close as they would come.

Draisaitl and Benoit Pouliot scored 20 seconds apart midway through to ice a lopsided final.

"We cut it to a goal in the third and they bounced back and got two more. It's kind of deflating," Wheeler said. "You get a little momentum, and (if) it (stays) a one-goal game for most of that third period, I think we like our chances with everything that happened throughout the game."

With the Jets on top entering the second period, the Oilers quickly tied the game before taking their first lead with their second and third power-play goals of the night, five minutes in.

Draisaitl struck first, jumping on a loose puck in the blue paint and plunging it past Hellebuyck only 51 seconds in. Then, Letestu drove hard to the net and buried a feed from Milan Lucic to give the visitors a 3-2 lead at 5:06, punishing the Jets for yet another undisciplined penalty.

After the Jets worked their way back into it with a couple of strong shifts in the offensive zone, the Oilers took a 4-2 lead on a fortuitous bounce at 11:43.

Pat Maroon took the shot from a sharp angle, and after first hitting Paul Postma at the side of the net, the puck banked in off Hellebuyck as he contended with the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Zack Kassian in front.

"We took some not-so-smart penalties," Laine said. "That's not the way we wanted to play, but that kind of stuff happens and we have to deal with it. But it wasn't our best game tonight. … They have a good team and they were just better than us today."

The Jets opened the scoring just 35 seconds in as Little, Blake Wheeler and Drew Stafford went head-to-head with Connor McDavid off the opening faceoff. With the Oilers on their heels in their end own, Wheeler found Little wide open out front, and No. 18 made no mistake, firing a shot high over Cam Talbot for his first of the year.

Letestu replied with a power-play goal for the Oilers at 2:31, tying the game at one. Leon Draisaitl made a great slap pass to the high slot, where Letestu made contact, sending it high over the glove for his third of the year.

A blistering shot by Laine put the Jets went back in front on their first power play of the game at 10:14. Toby Enstrom put the puck on a tee and Laine, with a clear lane from well out at the left point, drove it clean past Talbot.

Video: EDM@WPG: Laine lasers home a scorching shot for a PPG

Nikolaj Ehlers picked up the other assist and is now tied with Dallas forward Tyler Seguin for second most in the NHL.

Hellebuyck was the busier of the two goalies in the opening 20, stopping 12 of the Oilers' 13 shots, including a beautiful left toe save on McDavid after he burned the defence and surgically worked his way to the net.

"We gave them too much room and spent too much time worrying about their speed," Maurice said.

"I don't think they skate any better than we do when we're going. But they did tonight."

- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com

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