National Hockey League
Jets-Oilers Preview
National Hockey League

Jets-Oilers Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 10:41 p.m. ET

Connor McDavid continues to show that he might be the player to finally lead the Edmonton Oilers out of the wilderness.

Coming off a career-high five-point effort, the star rookie looks to keep rolling in a Hockey Night in Canada appearance when the Oilers host the Winnipeg Jets in a matchup of last-place teams Saturday night.

McDavid became the third rookie in team history to record a five-point game with two goals and three assists in a 5-2 win over Toronto on Thursday. The effort helped the Oilers (22-29-5) break a three-game losing streak after they had scored one goal in each of those contests.

''We needed this,'' McDavid said. ''There was a lot of pressure on us coming in, playing against a team that was desperate and missing a lot of guys. They played a great game in terms of structure and not giving up too much. But it was a big night for us to start off the (six-game) homestand.''


McDavid's line had a huge game, with Jordan Eberle recording his first career hat trick and adding an assist while Benoit Pouliot had four assists, but it was the center's effort against his hometown team that was the most spectacular. Years of high draft picks haven't resulted in the Oilers becoming a winning organization again, but McDavid, the top overall pick in the 2015 draft, seems to offer promise that it might finally happen.

''His performance did all the speaking,'' coach Todd McLellan said. ''You turn into a fan as a coach and as players and just admire what he and his linemates did.''

McDavid has four goals and eight assists in his last six games. Eberle has eight goals and three assists in the past 10 contests, while Pouliot has recorded two and eight in six.

''I think the more we play together, the better we will be,'' Eberle said. ''Tonight was obviously our best, we put up goals and whatnot. But it was the little plays that I really liked. Coming out of our end, cycling, I thought we did a better job of that. Chemistry is not something you get right away, you've got to grow it a bit.''

The Oilers will look to make it three straight wins and four in five at home, having scored five times in each of their last two there. They beat Winnipeg 3-1 at Rexall Place on Dec. 21 behind two goals and an assist from Teddy Purcell and 44 saves from Cam Talbot, who's expected to start this game after stopping 34 shots against the Maple Leafs.

The December result snapped the Jets' four-game winning streak in the series, and Winnipeg comes in looking to bounce back from a 6-2 home loss to Boston on Thursday.

The Jets (24-27-3) have given up at least five goals three times in the past five games and are 3-6-0 in nine. The Bruins dominated the third period, scoring three unanswered goals and holding a 14-6 shot advantage.

"We came out in the third and we looked tentative," defenseman Tyler Myers told the team's official website. "Being down a goal we can't play like that if we want to come back. They get the first one in the third and we're caught chasing and it's tough to come back like that."

Bryan Little had a goal and an assist - giving him goals in two straight games after an eight-game drought - and Blake Wheeler added two assists.

Despite its recent struggles, Winnipeg opens a four-game trip having won three straight and four of five on the road.


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