EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Edmonton Oilers had two options: win or else.
They did the former, ending a six-game losing streak and avoiding a full-on fan revolt with a desperately-needed 6-2 triumph over the visiting Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
Coach Dallas Eakins stirred up a hornet's nest at the morning skate when he called a fan a quitter for throwing an Oilers jersey on the ice in disgust after Edmonton's 6-0 home loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. That enraged the rest of the Edmonton fan base, who shared the jersey-thrower's frustration with the sad-sack organization.
They showed up at Rexall Place ready to vent some more in person if the losing streak grew to seven.
Fortunately for Eakins and the Oilers, it didn't.
"Everyone has Twitter," left winger Taylor Hall said of the controversy. "Even the players who don't have public accounts have fake ones, and they see everything.
"We definitely wanted to come play well. There were a lot of reasons for us to play well. and certainly that was one of them."
The Oilers (12-24-3) broke open a 3-2 game with three goals in the third period to win for the first time since Dec. 10.
"This is what hockey's about, when you can actually enjoy the game," Oilers right winger Jordan Eberle said. "It's better to get cheered than booed, especially going into the Christmas break."
Meanwhile, the Jets (16-18-5) lost their second game in a row, and falling to the last-place team in the conference is not a lot of fun.
"It's the same old (garbage) game after game," said left winger Andrew Ladd, Winnipeg's captain. "Frustrating doesn't begin to describe it. We know what it is, we talk about it all the time. We do the same things over and over.
"A team like the Oilers, you know they have a lot of offensive guys that can hurt you, and you don't want to put them on the power play and you don't want to turn the puck over and give them chances on the rush. We did both of those things, and that's the score."
Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart took the defeat just as hard.
"We were embarrassing ourselves out there," he said. "God, I'd hope you would show some emotion out there at that time or you have some real issues. It's the same old story. It's consistency, and we haven't been able to find it all year. It's one good game and then we take a break."
The Oilers came out as everyone expected they would after the morning firestorm, against an opponent playing its third game in four nights and the second of back-to-back games on the road.
Edmonton outshot the Jets 14-7 in the opening period and outscored them 2-1 on two very nice goals from Eberle and center Sam Gagner.
Eberle's goal came on the power play, Edmonton's first goal with a man advantage in eight games.
The Jets' first goal came on another softie against goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who let a long wrister from Stuart get through his five hole. Bryzgalov, who whiffed on two long shots in the blowout loss to St. Louis, was a surprise starter.
Winnipeg tied it again on Ladd's tap-in at the side of the net at 9:08 of the second, but left winger David Perron made it 3-2 late in the second. Edmonton defenseman Jeff Petry, Hall and right winger Nail Yakupov scored in the third.
Now the Oilers don't have to head into the holidays in a nose dive.
"It's a huge win for us," Yakupov said. "I think everyone is excited in the locker room and in Edmonton. It's a pretty good feeling before Christmas."
Not so much in Winnipeg.
"This leaves you in a sour position," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "We will reflect over the break and go from there. There are certain ways you have to play to win games. We know that, but we just aren't willing to play like that game in and game out."
NOTES: Oilers LW Ryan Jones, who was knocked out after colliding with a teammate during the morning skate Saturday, was out of the lineup. ... Twenty-two of Winnipeg's 39 games this season were decided by one goal. They are 9-8-5 in the nail-biters. ... Jets RW Devin Setoguchi's first-period assist marked just the second game in nine in which he recorded a point. ... The Jets were without D Paul Postma (blood clot), RW Matt Halischuk (forearm) and C Jim Slater (hernia). ... Eberle's goal was his first in six games. Edmonton LW David Perron's goal was his first in seven games.