December 02, 2014

After a last-place team snapped Edmonton's mini-run, the Oilers can still put a positive stamp on their trip against another.

Two days after watching their first win streak in a month end, the Oilers visit the Winnipeg Jets in a battle of two of the Western Conference's worst teams Sunday night.

Edmonton (25-35-7) found a pulse with three straight wins following a dismal 1-8-2 stretch, including victories at Buffalo on Tuesday and Philadelphia on Thursday to open a four-game trip. But despite another goal and an assist from rookie phenom Connor McDavid, the Oilers blew up defensively in Friday's 6-3 loss at Columbus, pushing them to the bottom of the Pacific Division with 57 points.

The effects of Thursday's 4-0 win over the Flyers were evident as the Blue Jackets scored on their first two shots and beat 22-year-old backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit four times in the opening 30 minutes.

"I was concerned going in that our gas tanks would be a little bit empty and the energy level would be low," coach Todd McLellan told the team's official website. "Tired teams can still win in this league if they play smart, and we didn't."

McDavid, the No. 1 pick in last year's draft, has returned from a broken left collarbone with eight goals and 14 assists in 17 games to pump life into an Edmonton attack that averages 2.40 goals.

However, it was a defensive unit ranked toward the bottom of the league that lifted the Oilers on their run and floored them in their latest loss.

Edmonton, the only remaining team with single digit victories on the road at 9-21-5, surrendered two goals on its win streak and six over its previous five games before Brossoit coughed up six in his second start of the season and third of his career.

Starter Cam Talbot will return Sunday looking to continue the dominance that resulted in a .966 save percentage over his last five starts. Talbot stopped 44 shots in a 3-1 home win over the Jets on Dec. 21, but Brossoit suffered the loss in a 2-1 shootout defeat in Edmonton on Feb. 13.

Winnipeg has won five of the last six meetings in this series, though four of them were decided in either overtime or a shootout.

The Jets (27-32-5), last in the Central, followed their Feb. 13 win over the Oilers with a 1-5-2 stretch before Saturday's 4-2 win over Montreal snapped a three-game skid.

Mark Scheifele continued his hot streak with his first career hat trick, including the winner with 6:59 left to end Winnipeg's six-game home skid.

Scheifele has followed a 14-game goal drought with eight in his last eight since stepping into the No. 1 center spot following a season-ending vertebrae injury to Bryan Little. Scheifele leads Winnipeg with a career-high 20 goals.

"It feels good," the 22-year-old told the team's official website. "I want to continue to grow and get better."

Saturday was the first time in eight games Winnipeg held an opponent to fewer than three goals. Michael Hutchinson started four games in that stretch, scuffling to an .885 save percentage and 3.50 goals-against average.

Winnipeg placed defenseman Adam Pardy on waivers Sunday and Edmonton picked him up a day later. The 31-year-old had just one assist in 14 games with the Jets, but he has two in three contests with the Oilers.

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