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Jets host Oilers, aim for three straight under Maurice

by Brian Hunter

OILERS (15-30-5) at JETS (21-23-5)


Last 10: Edmonton 2-6-2; Winnipeg 5-5-0

Season series: This is the third of three games between the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets. Michael Frolik scored with 5:02 left in regulation and the Jets rallied for a 5-4 victory in the season opener on Oct. 1, but the Oilers came back with a 6-2 win on Dec. 23 as Taylor Hall had a goal and two assists.

Big story: Winnipeg has scored five goals in winning each of its first two games under new coach Paul Maurice, but the more encouraging sign for the Jets has been allowing just one goal to the Phoenix Coyotes and two against the Calgary Flames. They rank 22nd in the NHL with a goals-against average of 2.92.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Ben Scrivens became the fifth goaltender to play in a game for Edmonton this season when he made 29 saves Thursday in a 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild, the third in a row for the Oilers.

Devan Dubnyk was traded to the Nashville Predators on the same day Scrivens was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings, while Richard Bachman (groin) has been on injured reserve since early November and Jason LaBarbera is now part of the Chicago Blackhawks organization. That leaves Scrivens and Ilya Bryzgalov, neither of whom was on the roster at the start of the season, to handle the duties moving forward.

"On the whole it was another good learning experience for me. At this point in my career, it's another chance to develop," Scrivens, a savior for the Kings earlier this season when Jonathan Quick was hurt, said in the Edmonton Journal. "I don't want to compare one team to another team because you're comparing 20 different identities. There's nothing identical."

Jets: Like its opponent Saturday afternoon, Winnipeg is stuck in last place in its division. However, the Jets still sit on the fringe of the Stanley Cup Playoff race in the Western Conference, only 10 points out after their back-to-back victories. They won three in a row at the end of December before a five-game skid to start 2014 cost coach Claude Noel his job. Their season high is a four-game winning streak from Nov. 8-15.

The Jets jumped on a struggling group of Calgary Flames on Thursday, racing to a 4-0 lead after two periods en route to a 5-2 victory. Six players had multi-point games.

"We did a good job using our speed and I think that's been the key for us the last couple games," forward Blake Wheeler said in the Winnipeg Free Press. "But it's two good games. I don't think we can get ahead of ourselves. We have a long ways to go. We're back to playing the way we want to be playing. But the key now is to stay with it."

Who's hot: Hall has two goals and two assists in the past four games for the Oilers. … Dustin Byfuglien has two goals and four assists during a four-game point streak for the Jets. Bryan Little has two goals and three assists during a three-game point streak. Olli Jokinen has goals in consecutive games.

Injury report: Edmonton forward Nail Yakupov (head) left the game Thursday in the second period and did not return. Forward Ales Hemsky (foot) was out of the lineup Thursday. Forward Jesse Joensuu (flu) has missed the past three games. Defensemen Corey Potter (groin) has missed the past nine games. Defenseman Philip Larsen (illness) has missed the past 12 games. … Winnipeg defenseman Grant Clitsome (back) had season-ending surgery Thursday. Defenseman Paul Postma (blood clot) and forwards Jim Slater (sports hernia) and Matt Halischuk (forearm) and Evander Kane (hand) are on injured reserve.

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