GAME STORY: Jets 4, Oilers 2
Connor Hellebuyck's 36 saves and two goals from Kyle Connor sink the Oilers to a 4-2 defeat to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesdayby Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com
EDMONTON, AB - Players and coaches praised their goaltending for earning the Oilers three-out-of-four possible points in their last two contests.
The Winnipeg Jets could lend similar thanks to their own netminder on Wednesday.
Connor Hellebuyck made 36 saves on 38 shots between the pipes for the Jets and Kyle Connor scored both the game-winning goal and empty-netter in a 4-2 win over the Oilers at Rogers Place.
"That's probably karma," Connor McDavid, who scored his 34th goal of the season, said post-game. "We've had a couple of games where we've got points when we probably didn't deserve points, and tonight I thought our game was pretty good and we don't get any. That's the way it goes."
The Jets forward gave Winnipeg the lead 29 seconds into the third period on a breakaway, then buried the insurance marker with 40 seconds left in regulation after the Oilers carried the play and outshot their opponents 12-3 in the final 20 minutes.
Tyler Ennis would be the benefactor of one of Hellebuyck's few mistakes early in the second period, tapping his second goal as an Oiler home in the blue paint after Kailer Yamamoto kicked the turnover towards goal just nine seconds off the faceoff.
Ennis' 16th of the season was the first of a trio of odd plays that ended in goals on the night, including a redirected pass off the stick of James Neal past Mike Smith and a retrieval from the Oilers netminder leaving the trapezoid and leading to Patrik Laine giving the Jets a short-lived lead.
"It was frustrating on my end. I thought I could've had a few," Ennis said. "Hellebuyck played outstanding, made a lot of crazy saves and that was probably the difference."
Connor McDavid delivered the tying goal and the 97th point of the season for #97 on a breakaway, slipping Zack Kassian's dish by a sprawled-out Hellebuyck with 1:37 left in the middle frame.
The Oilers outshot the Jets 38-25 after calling on Mikko Koskinen to make 45 saves in consecutive games, and both goaltenders to parry away 40-plus in four of their last six contests.
"We had more chances," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We played better as a team tonight than we did the last few games. We had some chances and didn't capitalize, then made a couple of mistakes that they capitalized on. That's the difference in the game."
Video: POST-GAME RAW | Coach Tippett 03.11.20
The Jets recapture a Wild Card spot with the two points, and the Oilers fall to 37-25-9 but still maintain the second spot in the Pacific Division and a four-point gap on the Calgary Flames with 83 points.
At the onset of the game's second period, the National Basketball Association (NBA) made the decision to suspend their '19-20 season with the current global situation surrounding COVID-19.
"The National Hockey League is aware of the NBA's decision tonight to indefinitely suspend its season due to a player testing positive for the coronavirus," said the NHL in a statement on Wednesday. "The NHL is continuing to consult with medical experts and is evaluating the options. We expect to have a further update tomorrow."
Tippett elaborated post-game: "I just talked to Ken (Holland) for a minute there. It just hits you so hard. I guess we just wait until that meeting tomorrow and see the direction (the NHL) wants to go.
"It's obviously not just a sports thing, it's a life thing. We'll just follow the directive of the NHL and the NHLPA with what they decide. It's kind of unprecedented, so we'll just read and react as it comes along."