The Edmonton Oilers won their final four games before the NHL’s holiday break to get back to .500, and look to continue their hot streak in Wednesday’s road contest against the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers beat Montreal 4-1 on Saturday but held their collective breath after center Connor McDavid blocked a shot with his foot and left the ice late in the third period, however X-rays turned out to be negative.
“His foot’s a little sore but he’s in good spirits, and a few days off will help him,” Edmonton coach Todd McLellan told reporters after the game. “We fully expect him to play in Winnipeg.” The Jets desperately needed the three days off after losing 5-2 on Saturday at the New York Islanders to drop to 1-5-3 their past nine road games. Winnipeg is one of five teams within two points of the Western Conference lead and has won eight of its past nine games at home, with four of its first six games after the break on home ice. “It’s a good start,” Jets forward Blake Wheeler told the media after the loss to the Islanders. “Hopefully we can get some good rest here and build on it when we get back from the break.”
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ABOUT THE OILERS (17-17-2): McDavid finished Saturday with a goal and an assist, and has three multi-point efforts in his past eight games. McDavid leads the Oilers with 43 points, and both he and center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have scored 14 goals. Goaltender Cam Talbot made 29 saves Saturday in his career-high seventh consecutive win, and has allowed 14 goals during the streak with a .929 save percentage.
ABOUT THE JETS (20-11-6): Wheeler is tied for eighth in the NHL in points (41) and linemate Mark Scheifele is tied for 15th (37), but the two have just five points combined in the past five games. Forward Patrik Laine leads the Jets in goals with 18, scoring seven in 12 games in December. Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves in Thursday’s shootout loss at Boston and has a 1.66 goals against average in his 18 victories.
1. Jets F Nikolaj Ehlers scored a hat track and added an assist in Winnipeg’s 5-2 victory at Edmonton on Oct. 9.
2. The Oilers are last in the NHL in penalty kill (72.8 percent).
3. Edmonton opens a four-game homestand against Chicago on Friday.
PREDICTION: Jets 3, Oilers 2