|Jets look to put tough loss behind them vs. Canucks|
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- A day after the Winnipeg Jets blew a three-goal lead in the third period and lost in overtime to the Edmonton Oilers, Jets coach Paul Maurice could easily have pulled the bag skate out of his hat.
After all, those games are a guaranteed two points 99 percent of the time.
Make that 97 percent, to match Oilers superstar Connor McDavid's number. The two-time defending scoring champion was part of four goals and a threat every time he hopped over the boards at Bell MTS Place.
The Jets were practically automatic last year in shutting down games once they got the lead in the third period, but an inability to stymie the player Sidney Crosby calls the best player in the world did them in.
Instead of Maurice punishing his players, he held a spirited but light-hearted practice on Wednesday.
But that didn't mean the players forgot about their missed opportunities. Jets captain Blake Wheeler didn't shirk his line's responsibility in giving up the goal that started the Oilers' comeback, 18 seconds into the third period by winger Ty Rattie. It was assisted by McDavid, who finished with two goals and assists.
"(At) 4-1 should be game over. Our line went out, gave up one early on and (that) gave them momentum," Wheeler told the Winnipeg Sun. "You're fighting an uphill battle from there. You don't feel like (McDavid) is having much impact on the game and he already has a goal. And then like that, there's a four-point night. It just shows you how special he is.
"You can't take your eye off him for a second. The speed, obviously, is incredible. He just makes so many little plays happen. Trying to keep him off the board is a tough challenge. You try to do the best you can. Four (points) is obviously not a good number for our group."
The Jets are 1-0-1 thus far during a six-game homestand and 3-2-1 overall.
The Canucks come to town on the heels of an impressive 3-2 road victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, improving to 4-2-0 to begin the season, not exactly the start many observers were predicting for the first season in forever without Henrik and Daniel Sedin leading the way.
While the Oilers were able to lean heavily on their scoring leader against the Jets, the Canucks won't be able to do as forward Elias Pettersson is recovering from a head injury after being body-slammed into the ice by Mike Matheson of the Florida Panthers last week.
They will, however, depend on last year's leading scorer, right winger Brock Boeser, doing more of what he did Tuesday, when he ended the game 34 seconds into overtime with a seeing-eye wrist shot.
Canucks coach Travis Green praised a solid team effort against a perennial Stanley Cup favorite.
"What a road game that was against a hockey team that's obviously pretty deep," he said in a postgame scrum. "I think we're starting to figure out how we need to play as a group. I remember, about two weeks ago, talking about identity. We're learning how to win some hockey games."