By Judy Owen, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Connor McDavid was feeling pretty good in warmup and it carried over into game action against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
McDavid had a goal and two assists to put himself back atop the NHL scoring race as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Jets 4-2, extending their win streak to five straight.
The Oilers captain has 71 points (26 goals, 45 assists) on the season, two ahead of teammate Leon Draisatl, who picked up one assist against the Jets.
“You have nights where you feel good, you have nights where you don’t feel so good,” McDavid said. “Tonight I felt good and I thought our team played well.”
Zach Hyman, Kailer Yamamoto and Darnell Nurse also had goals for Edmonton (28-18-3) while Tyson Barrie contributed a pair of assists.
“(McDavid) had it going on tonight, and he has it going on most nights,” Oilers interim head coach Jay Woodcroft said. “But in the end, it was a close game and some of the plays that our top players made were the difference in the game.”
Winnipeg (22-19-8) scored a pair of third-period goals, with one coming short-handed from Adam Lowry and Kyle Connor adding another on a power play.
Mikko Koskinen stopped 22 shots for Edmonton, which has now tallied five straight wins under Woodcroft.
The coach praised Koskinen for his first game playing since he went into COVID-19 protocol right after the NHL all-star break.
“What a performance he put in,” Woodcroft said. “I thought he instilled a lot of confidence in our team.”
The Oilers have used three different goalies during the win streak.
Connor Hellebuyck made 36 saves for Winnipeg, which is 5-3-1 after a six-game winless streak.
Lowry noticed some changes with the Oilers’ style.
“I think they were a little more responsible defensively, getting about pucks,” he said after scoring his fourth goal of the season. “I think you even saw it where a couple of their big guns were staying in the zone.”
The Oilers showed the Jets how to work a power play in the first period.
Winnipeg had a five-on-three man advantage for 90 seconds, but didn’t get a shot on goal after a lot of passing back and forth.
Edmonton then got its first power play of the game and Hyman tipped in Barrie’s point shot through traffic at the 12:17 mark, 20 seconds into the advantage.
“We did have some seams open up actually and they did a good job of getting sticks on a couple of plays, where if it gets through you’re getting a Grade A chance,” Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey said.
The Oilers are 15-0 when scoring first this season.
Edmonton outshot the Jets 15-5 in the opening period.
Yamamoto got his own rebound and recorded his 10th goal of the season at 7:46.
Draisaitl helped make it 3-0, sending a backhand pass across front of the net to McDavid, who scored at 10:50.
McDavid’s latest point streak sits at six games, including three goals and eight helpers.
The Oilers had a 13-11 edge in shots on goal in the middle frame.
Koskinen stopped Jets defenceman Brenden Dillon on a short-handed breakaway midway through the third period. Dillon was playing in his 700th career game.
Lowry then got a breakaway and put a shot under Koskinen’s pads at 10:45. Connor followed up with his 29th goal of the season, a one-timer at 14:38.
Blake Wheeler picked up an assist on Connors’ goal, giving him 12 points in his last four games, including three goals.
The Jets went on the power play with 2:05 left in the third when the Oilers were called for too many men on the ice, but couldn’t capitalize and Nurse scored on the empty net with three seconds remaining.
“What I really, really enjoyed about tonight’s game was the fact that (the Jets) got a little bit of momentum the last eight or nine minutes of the game, but our team didn’t flinch,” Woodcroft said.
“Everyone was calm, we’re saying the right things on the bench and we found a way to come out of a tough building with two points, which is the most important thing.”
Winnipeg will embark on a four-game road trip beginning Monday afternoon in Calgary against the Flames. Edmonton is set to host the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night.