Preview: Oilers at Jets
A pair of teams heading in opposite directions will square off Sunday night when the surging Edmonton Oilers open a two-game road trip at the slumping Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers, who have made only one playoff appearance in the past 13 seasons, are sitting atop the Pacific Division while Winnipeg is seeking to snap a three-game losing streak - all on home ice.
Edmonton responded to its lone loss by posting back-to-back victories, winning for the seventh time in eight games and improving to 4-0-0 at home by knocking off Detroit 2-1 on Friday. "I think it's like in any professional sport," goaltender Mikko Koskinen told reporters. "Winning games, the atmosphere goes up. So everyone is enjoying it and it's positive." It's hardly been positive for the Jets, who answered a three-game winning streak by scoring only five times during their three-game slide. "It's not going for us right now," captain Blake Wheeler told reporters following Winnipeg's 3-1 setback against the New York Islanders on Thursday night. "Obviously, scoring one goal, you're not going to win many games that way.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet One
ABOUT THE OILERS (7-1-0): Defenseman Adam Larsson suffered a fractured right fibula in the season opener, providing added playing time for rookie Ethan Bear, who has scored in back-to-back games. "We need it right now with Larsson out," coach Dave Tippett said of Bear's increased minutes. "He's come in and really filled a void for us there. He was a surprise in camp, and he's a good NHL player right now. We need him." Offseason acquisition James Neal continued his torrid start by scoring his ninth goal Friday - two more than he had last season with Calgary.
ABOUT THE JETS (4-5-0): Winnipeg was among the top clubs at home over the previous two seasons, posting an NHL-leading 32 wins in 2017-18, but its only victory at Bell MTS Place came against league-worst Minnesota. Bryan Little, who has been sidelined since sustaining a concussion in the preseason, skated on a line with Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor on Saturday and appears poised to make his season debut Sunday. Mark Scheifele had his five-game point streak snapped Thursday but he had two goals and two assists in three games versus Edmonton last season.
1. The Jets have scored a power-play goal in four straight games.
2. Oilers F Leon Draisaitl has 16 points - one fewer than captain Connor McDavid - during an eight-game point streak.
3. Winnipeg is riding a six-game point streak (5-0-1) versus the Oilers, although four of the past five meetings have been decided by one goal.
PREDICTION: Oilers 4, Jets 3