EDMONTON, Alberta – Outshooting the Edmonton Oilers 45-21, the Winnipeg Jets did everything in their power to halt their opponent’s home winning streak Monday.
They just couldn’t do it – not with the way one Oiler stepped up, stealing the show and in the process, two big points in the standings.
After making 80 saves in his last two appearances combined, Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot was outstanding early on and all night. It began in the first five minutes when a shorthanded 2-on-1 between Blake Wheeler and Tyler Myers came up empty, as Talbot stretched out to rob the 6-foot-8 defenceman with the left pad – a miracle stop most nights, on this, routine, and a sign of things to come.
Two quick goals by Teddy Purcell put the home side up by pair just moments later; the second standing up as the winner in a 3-1 home decision.
“We put up 86 shots attempts, (and) got 45 to the net,” Head Coach Paul Maurice said. “Their guy played great and that was the difference in the game.”
Purcell opened the scoring at 11:15, driving wide off the rush and filtering a shot through traffic. The puck sailed clear past the defenders, beating Connor Hellebuyck under the arm for the opening score. He then put the Oilers in front by two a minute and 29 seconds later, finishing off a pretty pass on a 3-on-2 with a missile bar down.
Leon Draisaitl assisted on both. The second-year forward now has 30 points (9G, 21A) in just 25 games this season.
The Oilers have now won seven straight games on home ice.
“Overall I think if you look at the game, we should be happy with it,” Bryan Little, the Jets’ lone goal scorer, said post-game. “We outshot them, controlled the play and got most of the scoring chances, but it doesn’t mean anything right now. They won the game. They got the two points. I would have rather been outshot and outplayed and win the game, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Talbot was at it again early in the middle frame, robbing Little from point-blank range, setting the stage – once again – for the offence.
Justin Schultz gave the Oilers a 3-0 lead at 7:45, roofing a shot in tight for his first of the year.
Hellebuyck’s night came to an end at that point after allowing three goals on 14 shots. Michael Hutchinson finished the game, making seven saves in his first action since Dec. 6.
“It’s tough to lose on any night, but with as much as we were taking it to them, it might hurt a little more,” Myers said. “For sure we outplayed them tonight, but at the same time their goalie played well and we’ve got to bear down on our chances. We had a lot of chances tonight and they just weren’t going in for us.”
Alexander Burmistrov had a glorious chance to get the Jets on the board moments later, but after curling around the fallen Talbot in tight, his attempt rang off the iron.
But the Jets kept after it, pulling within two with a goal at the tail end of a power play. Wheeler’s shot from the left circle rattled off the end glass, over Talbot’s head and right to Little, who swatted the puck out of midair and into the empty net.
The Jets were the dominant team, but Talbot prevented the Jets from getting any closer.
“We were in that hockey game,” Maurice said. “We were going to get enough and we did. We had to make good on the chances that we had and we didn’t.”
– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com