EDMONTON - The Winnipeg Jets couldn't have played a better game at five-on-five on Saturday night.
Unfortunately the Edmonton Oilers have one of the best power plays in the National Hockey League and scored twice with it in a 3-2 win over the Jets at Rogers Place.
"That's the painful part of this one. We played a hell of a game. On any given night that's a fine, fine game," said Paul Maurice.
"I think it's nine (games) in 16 (nights) for us, a couple time zone changes and to play as hard as we did tonight and lose. That's a painful one for sure."
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
Leon Draisaitl scored twice on the power play before Edmonton's game winner at even strength with just over five minutes left in the game off the stick of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Logan Shaw and Kyle Connor scored for the Jets who fell to 33-28-6 on the season. Connor Hellebuyck finished the night with 19 saves.
The Jets missed out on a chance to move into the first wild card spot in the Western Conference as both the Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators lost on Saturday.
"It doesn't matter how hard we play, you have to get results this time of year," said Blake Wheeler.
"We're in a position where we're tied with five minutes to play in the game, we can't leave with zero. You just can't do it."
Video: POSTGAME | Blake Wheeler
With Dylan DeMelo in the box for tripping the Oilers would open the scoring at 6:27. Connor McDavid walked out of the corner with the puck and found Leon Draisaitl alone at the far post and the German forward scored on a one-timer. It was the first power play goal given up by the Jets in eight games.
With it still 1-0, Andrew Copp had the best chance for the Jets at the halfway mark of the second period. Copp cut across the front of the net and slid it low but Smith's right pad was there to keep Winnipeg off the board.
At 13:23 of the second Nick Shore sent Logan Shaw in alone and he snapped a low shot stick side for his third goal of the season to tie it at one. Getting a goal from the fourth line really energized the Jets from that point on.
"I think when we get out there if we can build momentum in any way but I think if we get a goal it's pretty big for the bench," said Shaw.
"It's always nice to see guys who don't play that much get rewarded and I think that's what it was for us and it was nice to see the other guys happy for us."
Video: POSTGAME | Logan Shaw
Just 34 seconds later, Winnipeg took the lead for the first time. Wheeler danced around Ethan Bear and slid a back hand pass to Connor who scored his 100th career goal to make it 2-1. Connor joins Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and Sebastian Aho as the four players from the 2015 NHL Draft to reach the century mark in goals.
Edmonton went to the power play with 1:26 to go in the period and it took them just over a minute to get their second goal with the man advantage. Hellebuyck made three nice stops before Draisaitl scored his second of the night, redirecting a pass from McDavid to make it 2-2 after 40 minutes. The Jets hadn't allowed two power play goals in a game since January 31.
"There are two plays there that we've been able to get clears on. On the first one (power play goal) we scrum in the corner. We stopped them at the line twice by that time so we're feeling good and we just couldn't get a handle on that puck," said Maurice.
"The same thing happened on the second one. Their hand skills take over and they peel it off the wall and get it to the point and tip it in front. They've got three or four and certainly two world class, dynamic players."
The Oilers restored their lead with 5:16 to go when Draisaitl saw Ryan Nugent-Hopkins going to the net, Nugent-Hopkins fired a low shot that beat Hellebuyck to the far side and it was 3-2.
Winnipeg had a power play soon after and had a couple good looks but could not beat Smith who ended up with 39 stops. Winnipeg finished 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
The Jets will open a three game homestand Tuesday when the Buffalo Sabres come to town.