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Oilers feed Jets holiday humble pie

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Jason Franson / The Canadian Press

Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) and Edmonton Oilers' Andrew Ference (21) battle during first period NHL hockey action in Edmonton, Alta., on Monday.

EDMONTON — It’s official and it comes straight from a North Pole source: jolly ol’ St. Nick has seen enough and moved the Winnipeg Jets to the naughty list.

And this time he scratched their name in atop the chart with permanent marker, not pencil.

The Jets dropped a 6-2 decision to the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place Monday night in their final pre-Christmas contest, falling to the second-worst team in the National Hockey League, a squad which has dropped six straight and has been shut out in three of the last five.

Winnipeg, which has just two wins in its last eight games, falls to 16-18-5. And worth noting here: In the last month the Jets have dropped games to the NHL’s weaker sisters — Buffalo, Florida and now Edmonton.

Naughty, indeed.

 

THE START

The Jets knew the Oilers would be coming, what with Dallas Eakins kicking the hornet’s nest earlier in the day by calling the fan who tossed his jersey on the ice at the end of Saturday’s six-zip loss to St. Louis "a quitter." That the Oilers went into damage control after that — Eakins clarifying his statement via Twitter, GM Craig MacTavish and president Patrick LaForge reaching out to the fan later in the day — was inconsequential to the Jets.

But their response, frankly, was iffy.

Of course, it didn’t help that the Jets took two minor penalties in the first eight minutes with the Oilers capitalizing on the second opportunity as Jordan Eberle buried home a pass from Ales Hemsky. The Jets would get the equalizer on a softie from Mark Stuart right through Ilya Bryzgalov, but another defensive lapse saw Sam Gagner put the home side ahead 2-1 after 20 minutes.

And how the Jets managed to survive the early onslaught brings us to our second discussion point...

 

THE PAV DECISION

Playing their second game in as many nights — and third in four days — the matchup with the Oilers had an Al Montoya start written all over it. But Claude Noel’s decision to start Ondrej Pavelec had Twitterverse and chat rooms buzzing, especially with these stats to munch on: In the second half of back-to-back contests Pavelec’s career record was 3-15 with a 4.11 goals against average and .870 save percentage.

And all of those numbers plummeted further after Monday night.

But Pavelec was hardly the culprit against the Oilers. The Jets were outshot 14-7 in the first, gained their legs a bit in the second, but were mere shadows of the club that served up a defensively sound effort in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Vancouver.

They were guilty of some horrible defensive-zone coverage and countless turnovers, leaving Pavelec to either make some highlight-of-the-night candidate saves or fish the puck out of the net after another tic-tac-toe Oilers’ marker.

 

A GONG SHOW FINAL 20

The Jets came completely unglued in the third as the Oilers scored three times — the first by Jeff Petry 11 seconds after a Winnipeg power play ended to really seal the deal — with later markers by Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov that then brought out the ugly in the game.

The final moments saw Jets Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little and Zach Bogosian booed off the ice after the Winnipeg captain and Yakupov got into it with their sticks following the Oilers’ sixth goal and a minor skirmish.

 

WHAT’S NEXT

Good question. The Jets will be off the ice for three days before returning on the 27th to face the Minnesota Wild at home. And with the playoff line becoming fainter by the night, the Jets need to go on a run — a big-time run — to get themselves back in the playoff discussion.

But here’s why everyone in Jetland has their doubts: This squad hasn’t won back-to-back games since road wins in New Jersey and Long Island Nov. 25 and 27. Since, they are 3-7-1. And that puts them closer to dreaming of a high draft pick than meaningful hockey in late April and May.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Live Winnipeg Jets Coverage Twitter bird

  • WFPHockey

    @WFPHockey: Anger, frustration in Jets' dressing room bit.ly/1e7zV7v #NHLJets 6:42 am on Dec 24

  • garylawless

    @garylawless: Just got a late night angry call from agent of member of #nhljets core. Says players don't blame noel. But want him to hold ALL accountable 1:04 am on Dec 24

  • garylawless

    @garylawless: Players on #nhljets roster I wouldn't trade: 8, 55, 16, 18, 68, 9. But dealing 33, 39 or 26 requires getting value in return - tough rt now 12:27 am on Dec 24

  • garylawless

    @garylawless: Too many of us have reached a dishonest evaluation of #nhljets talent based on hope for playoffs. Hope doesn't create playoffs. Talent, will 12:23 am on Dec 24

  • garylawless

    @garylawless: How many legit F do #nhljets have right now? 7? How many D? None elite rite now. Fact rookies might b best jets is telling. Low on talent 12:09 am on Dec 24

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets Andrew Ladd: “It’s the same old s—t game aver game. I guess frustrating doesn’t begin to describe it" 12:02 am on Dec 24

  • garylawless

    @garylawless: Words from #nhljets room meaningless to me. They never back them up. Act like they deserve better. They don't. Not that good. Mentally soft. 11:59 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets Mark Stuart, seething after the L (3): “Write whatever you want and don’t take it easy on us because we don’t deserve it.” 11:45 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Interesting stuff from Andrew Ladd and Mark Stuart after the #NHLJets loss to Edmonton. Stuart: 'Same old story. It's consistency. (1)' 11:41 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Blake Wheeler hits crossbar. Some pressure but no equalizer for #NHLJets on early PP. Oilers then go ahead 4-2 11 secs after PP. 10:39 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Another breakdown in #NHLJets zone and David Perron has put the Oilers ahead 3-2. 10:09 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets fourth line gets a rare shift... and Eric O'Dell sent off for high sticking. 9:59 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Good work by Little on PP, feeds Byfuglien who stick breaks on shot but is tipped in by Ladd. The captain's first G in 8 gms. #NHLJets 9:50 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Much better start to second for #NHLJets. Have out-shot Oilers 3-0 in first four mins. 9:39 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: OIlers lead #NHLJets 2-1 after 1. Not a good period for Wpg. Very sloppy in own zone. Edm speed hurting the visitors right now. 9:17 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets caught watching as Oilers move the puck around with Gagner finishing. Wpg fourth line on the ice; Pardy and Buff struggling. 9:09 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Lots of ?s about Noel's decision to start Pavelec in back-to-back games. He's already faced 12 shots and is keeping #NHLJets in this. 9:04 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Setoguchi now gets second assist on Stuart goal. #NHLJets. 9:02 pm on Dec 23

  • JimTothSports

    @JimTothSports: #NHLJets Mark Stuart ties it with #Oilers at 1-1 from Jokinen. Universe might want that one back...Stuart's look like bear...wife is a husky 9:01 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Sniper Mark Stuart with his second. Bryz would like that back. If this was in Wpg, the Illllyaaaa chants would be fired up. 1-1 #NHLJets 8:58 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Oilers score on PP; Eberle's 12th from Hemsky and Ference. 1-0 Edmonton over #NHLJets. Shots 9-2 for Oil. 8:55 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: How not to start a game: #NHLJets take two minor penalties inside the first eight minutes. Enstrom for holding. 8:50 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Penalty on Evander Kane. Complaining ensues. #NHLJets 8:45 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: #NHLJets starters; Pavelec, Byfuglien, Pardy, Ladd, Little, Wheeler. Scratched: Ellerby, Clitsome, Ellerby. 8:35 pm on Dec 23

  • garylawless

    @garylawless: looking at the #nhljets lineup - who would you replace thorburn with on the third line? 5:48 pm on Dec 23

  • garylawless

    @garylawless: would you throw your #nhljets sweater on the ice? would that make you a quitter? we wanna know at H and L #tsn1290 call now at 204-780-1290 5:16 pm on Dec 23

  • DoubleEmMartin

    @DoubleEmMartin: Ok look if it'll make everyone stop arguing then I'll start in net for the #NHLJets tonight. The things I do for you 1:11 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Ondrej Pavelec starts tonight for #NHLJets 12:34 pm on Dec 23

  • WFPEdTait

    @WFPEdTait: Oilers will start Ilya Brzgalov tonight vs #NHLJets 12:12 pm on Dec 23

  • PaulWiecek

    @PaulWiecek: With last night's loss in VAN, the #NHLJets are 2-5 this season in 2-1 games. Discuss. 10:14 am on Dec 23

  • garylawless

    @garylawless: i asked for top 5 peg sports stories - better make it top 10. first 5 were too easy #bombers #goldeyes #nhljets 7:18 am on Dec 23

  • WFPHockey

    @WFPHockey: Just don't have enough to win bit.ly/1cMVKHf #NHLJets 7:14 am on Dec 23

  • garylawless

    @garylawless: Hey #winnipeg - what were your five biggest local sports stories in 2013? #bombers #nhljets #goldeyes 6:49 am on Dec 23

History

Updated on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 4:04 PM CST: Changes photo

6:42 PM: Adds game blog box.

9:05 PM: Changes headline; updates score.

9:23 PM: Updates headline.

10:20 PM: Updates headline after second period.

10:31 PM: Adds photo

11:18 PM: Updates headline after third period.

11:32 PM: Updates post-game copy.

12:01 AM: Replaces post-game copy.

12:02 AM: Tweaks headline.

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