The Winnipeg Jets will try to forge a tie for first place in the Southeast Division when they host the Edmonton Oilers in tonight's interconference clash at MTS Centre.
The Jets are two points behind idle Florida for the division lead, but with three games in hand over Winnipeg, the Panthers have the inside track on first place.
Winnipeg is coming off Saturday's shootout loss to St. Louis, but the Jets have recorded a point in each game so far on their eight-game homestand, going 3-0-2 during the residency.
The Jets lost Saturday's test against the Blues despite holding a 41-16 shot advantage. In the end, David Perron's winner in the fourth round of the shootout was the difference for St. Louis in the 3-2 victory.
To start the final round, Andrew Ladd hit the space between Jaroslav Halak's arm and body. As the Blues netminder slid backwards in his crease, the puck dropped behind him, and only the quick sweeping motion of his pad prevented the disc from moving over the goal line. Halak made 39 saves in regulation and overtime for the Blues.
Perron followed and beat Chris Mason with a high backhander from the left side.
Blake Wheeler scored both regulation goals for the Jets, while Mason made just 14 saves in the loss.
"It's disappointing, that was a game we should have won. We feel like we outplayed them, the shot chart was pretty indicative of what happened today, and sometimes that happens in this league," Wheeler admitted.
The setback dropped Winnipeg to 19-9-4 as the home team this season. After tonight's tilt, the Jets still have games against Florida and Buffalo left on their residency.
The Oilers, who are 16 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, had a two-game win streak snapped Saturday by the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. Mike Smith made 21 saves and Shane Doan netted a late insurance tally for the visitors in the 3-1 decision.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins provided the only goal for the Oilers, who have lost four of their last six. Devan Dubnyk surrendered three goals on 20 shots in defeat and allowed the Coyotes to grab a 2-0 lead in the opening period.
"Giving up the first two makes it a tough hill to climb against a team like that," Oilers forward Taylor Hall said. "We made it really hard on ourselves."
Edmonton has won its last two road games, but the Oilers still enter tonight's away contest with a dreadful 8-20-2 record as the visiting team this season.
The Oilers are 5-2 with a tie in the last eight meetings with the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise. Edmonton notched a 5-3 home win over the Thrashers in the only encounter between the clubs last season.