McDavid notches 3rd hat trick of season, Oilers beat Jets

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Connor McDavid recorded his third hat trick of the season and the ninth of his career, leading Edmonton to a 6-1 win over Winnipeg on Monday night that lifted the Oilers past the Jets and into second place in the North Division.

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist and Alex Chiasson and Darnell Nurse also scored for Edmonton, which has two games in hand on the Jets. Mike Smith made 36 saves.

McDavid, who leads the NHL in scoring with 81 points, also had an assist and is second to Toronto’s Auston Matthews in goals scored.

Playing his 46th game of the season, McDavid is the fastest player to 80 points in a campaign since Mario Lemieux hit the mark in 45 games in 1996-97.

With 10 games left, McDavid could possibly reach the 100 point mark. But that is not his first goal.

“We want to play good, team hockey down the stretch,” McDavid said. “That’s the most important thing.”

Asked about McDavid, Draisaitl seemed to run out of adjectives for a teammate with 19 points in eight outings against the Jets.

“Sky’s the limit,” said Draisaitl, a distant second in the scoring race with 66 points. “He shows it every night.

“Very, very special player.”

The Oilers improved to 6-2-0 against Winnipeg and have won five straight versus the Jets, allowing just six goals over that span.

Mark Scheifele scored for Winnipeg (27-18-3). The Jets dropped a fourth straight game in regulation, their longest home losing streak since a five-game skid from Dec. 17, 2019, to Jan. 12, 2020.

“We feel like we’ve got a good hockey team in there and that we’re not playing up to our potential,” Winnipeg forward Andrew Copp said. “There’s no way around it. There’s no easy fix.

“You’ve just got to go straight through the adversity and straight through the wall and just dig in.”

Connor Hellebuyck allowed six goals on 23 shots through two periods before being replaced by Laurent Brossoit for the final 20 minutes. He finished with seven saves.

Winnipeg began its current five-game homestand with a 3-0 loss to Edmonton on April 17 before 5-3 and 4-1 losses to Toronto on Thursday and Saturday.

The Jets and Oilers will conclude their regular-season series on Wednesday.

“We missed the gear change coming off the road,” said Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice. “We had four of those pucks (on goals against), we need to make a decision based on the game that is being played now, not the game that was played two weeks ago.

“So that gear change happened and it’s happened with the two teams ahead of us in the standings in the division, and tonight it blew up on us.”

Already minus center Adam Lowry (head), Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice announced before the game his team will be without 21-goal scorer Nikolaj Ehlers (upper-body injury) for the remainder of the regular season following a third-period collision Saturday with Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin.

Playing just their fourth game in 16 days because of COVID-19 scheduling changes, the Oilers took the lead with 3:38 left in the first period on a sequence that started when Draisaitl won a battle behind Winnipeg’s net. He fed a pass in front to Adam Larsson, who quickly found Chiasson to one-time his eighth goal of the season past Hellebuyck.

The goal was Chiasson’s fourth against the Jets in 2021, and the 100th of his NHL career.

Edmonton doubled its lead with 1:29 remaining in the period on an odd-man rush after Winnipeg turned the puck over at the offensive blue line. Tyson Barrie — playing his 600th NHL game — sent a shot towards Hellebuyck that was deflected to McDavid, who scored his 26th.

Hellebuyck stopped McDavid on a breakaway early in the second, but the Oilers’ captain sped down the wing later in the same shift, faked a shot and slid the puck between the Winnipeg goaltender’s pads for his 27th at 3:38.

Draisaitl then made it 4-0 at 11:40, when he scored his 23rd on a 2-on-1 with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins after Derek Forbort turned the puck over.

Nurse continued the onslaught at 13:18, finishing off a passing play with McDavid and Jesse Puljujarvi for his 14th.

Scheifele, who was benched for 17 minutes Saturday by Maurice, got one back for the home side on a power play with his 19th at 15:06.

But McDavid completed his hat trick just 1:24 later by intercepting a Kyle Connor pass and moving in alone on Hellebuyck , scoring his 28th.

NOTES: Draisaitl passed Marco Sturm for the most points by a German-born NHLer with the 488th of his career on his second-period goal. Sturm played 938 games in the NHL, while Draisaitl suited up for his 468th contest Monday. … Oilers rookie Ryan McLeod made his NHL debut. … Edmonton defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, who spent three seasons with Winnipeg, played for the first time since being acquired from New Jersey prior to the trade deadline.

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