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game recap

Jets top Oilers for fourth straight win, push forward in wild-card race

Move two points ahead in Western Conference; McDavid scores in return

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Connor scores on breakaway

WPG@EDM: Connor nets goal on breakaway

Kyle Connor skates in on a breakaway and fires a shot through the five-hole of Mike Smith to give the Jets a 3-2 lead

  • 00:31 •

EDMONTON -- The Winnipeg Jets moved two points ahead for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with a 4-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Wednesday.

Kyle Connor scored his first of two goals on a breakaway to break a tie 29 seconds into the third period, and Connor Hellebuyck made 36 saves for Winnipeg (37-28-6), which pulled ahead of the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks. Blake Wheeler had a goal and assist.

"It was a weird game. We had some pretty awesome efforts at our goal line to keep pucks out," Wheeler said. "Our goalie was really good again, and I think we just kind of stayed with it and allowed the game to evolve and we were able to get some opportunities that we were able to capitalize on."

 

[WATCH: All Jets vs. Oilers highlights]

 

Connor McDavid returned from an illness and scored for Edmonton (37-25-9), which remained three points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the Pacific Division lead. Mike Smith made 21 saves.

"That's karma. We've had a couple of games where we've gotten points where we probably didn't deserve points," McDavid said. "Tonight, I thought our game was pretty good, but we don't get any points. That's the way it goes."

Video: WPG@EDM: McDavid beats a sprawling Hellebuyck

Tyler Ennis scored nine seconds into the second period to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead after Hellebuyck misplayed the puck behind the net. Wheeler tied it 1-1 at 9:25 when his past deflected off Edmonton forward James Neal's stick.

"I really liked our start; it was perfect in a lot of ways," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "I didn't think we were great when the other team scored; I thought the momentum shifts were bigger. I think at the end of the day, what's fair to say is that we had far better offense in our last game in here (a 3-2 loss on Feb. 29) and they had far better offense in this game, and the goaltenders were the difference in the game."

Patrik Laine gave the Jets a 2-1 lead at 16:28 of the second period off a centering pass from Cody Eakin.

Video: WPG@EDM: Laine one-times goal from the slot

McDavid tied it 2-2 at 18:23 after he took a pass from Zack Kassian, worked his way around Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov and tucked the puck past Hellebuyck.

Connor gave Winnipeg a 3-2 lead when Wheeler sent him in alone with a pass from the Oilers blue line, and he put a shot between Smith's skates for his 37th goal of the season. Connor scored an empty-net goal with 40 seconds remaining for the 4-2 final.

Edmonton outshot Winnipeg 12-3 in the third period.

"We had more chances, we played better as a team tonight than we did the last few games," Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. "We didn't capitalize on some chances and made a couple of mistakes that they capitalized on. That was the difference in the game."

Video: WPG@EDM: Wheeler deflects puck in off defender

 

They said it

"He has been our best player all year and it showed again tonight. He was outstanding; he never wavered in confidence. He had that one turnover, but he was fighting back and came back strong and you could tell he wasn't bothered by that." -- Jets forward Kyle Connor on goalie Connor Hellebuyck

"It was frustrating on my end; I thought I could have had a few. We had our chances, but Hellebuyck played outstanding. He made a lot of crazy saves, and that was probably the difference." -- Oilers forward Tyler Ennis

Video: Hellebuyck is a brick wall versus the Oilers

 

Need to know

It's the first time this season the Jets have won four in a row. … Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had his six-game point streak end. … Forward Leon Draisaitl needs two goals to become the first Oilers player in 33 years to post back-to-back seasons with at least 45 goals; Wayne Gretzky (52, 62) and Jari Kurri (68, 54) accomplished the feat in 1985-86 and 1986-87.

 

What's next

Jets: At the Calgary Flames on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN, SN360, SN1, CITY, NHL.TV)

Oilers: Host the New York Islanders on Friday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Video: Connor, Wheeler lead Jets past Oilers, 4-2

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