Oilers down Jets

Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collides with Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec at the MTS Centre...

Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collides with Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Man., Feb. 27, 2012. (FRED GREENSLADE/Reuters)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:26 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Just like old times.

The Edmonton Oilers, who used to beat Winnipeg for fun the last time the Jets were in the NHL, had a few more laughs Monday night at the expense of their resurrected rival.

They scored four straight goals in the third period to beat Winnipeg 2.0 by a 5-3 score, delivering a crushing blow to a team in the thick of a playoff race.

"In the third period we came out and just didn't take no for an answer," said Taylor Hall, who had a goal, an assist and two minor penalties in an eventful first trip to Manitoba. "These are games we have to learn to win, not the 6-2 games or the 10-2 games that come easy to us. We have to learn to win the tight games.

"When we're down in the third period we have to outplay the other team the best we can. We did that in the third. It was a strong period by us Ñ we took over."

And handed the shell-shocked hosts just their 10th regulation loss in 33 home games.

Head coach Tom Renney said coming back from a third-period deficit to win in a hostile building against a playoff team is another step in the Oilers evolution.

"It's big," he said. "There are lots of questions about our team this year, where we are and how we're really doing, but we've always felt inside that we have the character, when we're healthy and focused, that we can play with any team.

"What it tells me is that we're capable of that. We were playing a team that was doing everything they can to put you under duress and what we have to learn how to do, and what we did tonight, was handle it."

Devan Dubnyk stopped 27 of 30 shots and added an assist in another strong performance. It didn't looked like it was going to be his night Ñ he took a stick in the face on the first shift and a puck off the jaw later on, but stood his ground in a rather loosely played game in which the Oilers needed some big saves.

"My face doesn't usually get beat up, but my teeth got knocked a bit, I got one on the chin, on the cheek," he grinned, adding it was all worth it. "I thought we played really well. It's one of the toughest, if not the toughest, place to play in the NHL."

Lennart Petrell emerged as an unlikely hero with a goal and an assist in Edmonton's third-period outburst. He might have actually tipped Hall's shot in, but it was too close to call and nobody really cares, as long as it went in.

"It was just a fun game," said Petrell, who hadn't scored since December 22. "It was one of the best crowds I've seen so far, and to come out with the win was a big plus. It was a lot of fun to score again, it felt really good."

In a game that looked a lot like the ones these teams used to play in the '80s Ñ free flowing with a lot of chances at both ends Ñ the goaltenders owned the day early on. Then the floodgates opened late in the second period and early in the third, with five goals in seven minutes.

Kyle Wellwood for Winnipeg at 15:45, Ryan Whitney for Edmonton at 18:43 and Alex Burmistrov for Winnipeg at 19:27.

Then Edmonton ran away with it: Ryan Jones, in his first game back after three as a healthy scratch, tied it 1:54 into the third and Petrell, using Ben Eager as a decoy on the 2-on-1, made it 3-2.

Hall made it 4-2 at 9:24 and Jordan Eberle ended it on a breakaway at 17:34 with Ryan Smyth getting his 800th career point on the play.

"Good for Ryan," said Renney. "His second go-round (in Edmonton) makes it feel like he never left."

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

@SUN_TYCHKOWSKI


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