The Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets are set for a huge series, with games Thursday (7 p.m. MT) and Saturday (8 p.m. MT) at Rogers Place.
Not only are the teams tied for second place in the North Division, with 38 points apiece, but they are also just two points back of division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs, who are off until Friday. Thus, the loser of Thursday’s tilt will drop to third in the North, while the winner will move into a first-place tie with the Leafs.
This is now the 10th season with the NHL back in Winnipeg, and during that span, the Oilers and Jets have never met with so much at stake while both teams are playing at such a high level.
So as we get set for these two monster games, here’s a look at the five most memorable games so far between the Oilers and the modern-day Jets.
Back in the ‘Peg
02/27/12 – Oilers 5 at Jets 3
In their first game in Winnipeg since December 1995, the Oilers scored four times in the third period for a comeback win at the MTS Centre.
Taylor Hall had the game-winning goal and added an assist, while Jordan Eberle, Ryan Jones, Lennart Pettrell, and Ryan Whitney also scored for Edmonton. Oilers netminder Devan Dubnyk stopped 29 of 32 shots to pick up the win.
Winnipeg opened the third period with a 2-1 lead before Edmonton erupted with four straight goals in a span of less than 16 minutes. Nik Antropov, Alexander Burmistrov, and Kyle Wellwood had the Jets’ goals.
This was the first meeting between Edmonton and Winnipeg NHL teams since the Jets lost 3-2 to the Oilers at Edmonton Coliseum on March 29, 1996.
A Classic Victory
10/23/16 – Oilers 3 at Jets 0
Before a sellout crowd of 33,240 fans at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Oilers goalie Cam Talbot made 31 saves to shutout the Jets in the 2016 Heritage Classic, the 19th NHL regular season to be played outdoors.
Edmonton got all its goals in the second period, with Mark Letestu, Zack Kassian, and Darnell Nurse scoring on Jets’ netminder Connor Hellebuyck.
Puck drop had been scheduled for 2 p.m. local time but was delayed by almost two hours because of the presence of direct sunlight on the ice surface. The temperature was 50.1 degrees Fahrenheit when the game finally started.
Prior to the game, teams of Jets and Oilers alumni took the ice for a friendly match-up that featured some of hockey’s all-time greats, including Wayne Gretzky and Teemu Selanne.
Shutout Until the Shootout
10/20/19 – Jets 1 vs. Oilers 0
For just the second time in team history, the Oilers went to a shootout with the game score 0-0.
Neither team could score over 60 minutes of regulation plus five minutes of three-on-three at Bell MTS Place, as the goaltenders stood tall; Edmonton’s Mike Smith stopped 23 shots from the Jets and Hellebuyck made 28 saves.
The skills contest opened with Hellebuyck stopping Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kyle Connor scoring for Winnipeg. After Connor McDavid missed on Edmonton’s second attempt, Patrik Laine put the puck behind Smith to secure a Winnipeg win.
Edmonton had won its only previous game that went to a shootout tied 0-0, on the road against the Montreal Canadiens in February 2017.
The Night Hockey Stopped
03/11/20 – Jets 4 @ Oilers 2
It started as a huge game for both teams in the stretch drive to the post-season, but the focus quickly turned to things other than goals and penalties.
While the Oilers and Jets were playing, the National Basketball Association had suspended its season because of a player’s positive COVID-19 test. Word spread quickly, and as the game progressed at Rogers Place, there was a growing sense that this would be the last NHL action anyone would see for a while.
We know too well how the rest of the story goes. The NHL suspended play the next day, and it would be months before it resumed play. Edmonton fans have yet to return to the rink for more than a year now.
As for the game itself, Connor scored twice in the third period to break a game that was deadlocked at two after two. McDavid and Tyler Ennis each scored for the Oilers.
01/24/21 – Oilers 4 at Jets 3
Leon Draisaitl scored the latest go-ahead goal in Oilers history, culminating a crazy finish that saw the teams combine for four goals over the last 6:06 of the game.
Just prior to the final horn, Draisaitl took a pass from McDavid and fired the puck behind former Oiler and current Winnipeg goalie Laurent Brossoit for the game-winning goal at 19:59 of the third period. Edmonton’s Mikko Koskinen stopped 35 shots between the pipes.
Goals from Nugent-Hopkins and Kyle Turris had given Edmonton a 2-1 lead, before Nikolai Ehlers and Blake Wheeler scored just 73 seconds apart to put the Jets in front with less than five minutes to play. Kailer Yamamoto’s goal with 3:05 remaining pulled Edmonton even at 3-3.
This list could soon require an update. Both the Oilers and Jets had key wins on Wednesday (Edmonton beat the Calgary Flames 7-3 at the Scotiabank Saddledome; Winnipeg topped the Canadiens 4-3 in overtime at Bell MTS Place), setting the stage for an exciting two-game set. With the way things are going, these are a couple games that fans could be talking about for some time.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.