I don’t worry too much about the score in preseason games, especially when the opposition ices a lineup with minimal NHL players. The Jets roster had limited NHL talent, but the players who dressed are still trying to impress Paul Maurice, so the Oilers, despite having more skill, still needed to work hard.
Here is what I saw tonight:
- Talbot looks like he shook off Monday’s rust. He is tracking
the puck nicely and makes a few solid pad stops.
- Nurse with the first penalty. Jets PP doesn’t do much, which
is to be expected considering their lineup.
- Oilers 5-on-3 scores early. RNH to Schultz, who slides down
low from the right point, and one times a quick snap shot short side. 1-0
- Oilers get a few more good
chances later in the 5-on-4 PP, but can’t score.
- Korpikoski is very strong on his
skates. When he leans on players, he easily puts them off balance. He doesn’t
run guys over, but he uses his speed and strength to knock them off the puck. Very
- Off a faceoff Christoffer takes
an interference penalty. Jets PP looks anemic again.
- Raffl crunched Oesterle along the
boards. It might not have looked like a big hit on TV, but it hurt Oesterle. It
jarred his shoulder and he was in pain on the bench. Those hits are deceptively
- Klefbom gets rocked at the
blueline by Lipon and Schultz doesn’t hesitate and goes after him. This is
exactly what the Oilers need to do, especially in exhibition. Stand up for each
other. Great to see. Schultz and Lipon get roughing minors. If Schultz plays
with this type of passion all season, he will go from many fans’ doghouse to the
- Burmistrov walks around Oesterle
at the blueline and forces Oesterle to take a hooking penalty. He got caught
backing in with two hands on his stick, and couldn’t turn. I’m sure when they show
him the tape they will remind him to have one free hand in that situation.
Struds was sitting beside me in the pressbox and he he stood up and gave us a
quick example of how to defend with one hand on your stick. Too bad the in
house camera didn’t catch him in action like they did a few years ago when he
was telling a story. He is a beauty.
- Jets go PP. They don’t get any
good chances, but 61 seconds later Gryba is penalized for cross checking.
Nurse, Schultz and Letestu on PK. Jets with no real puck movement and Talbot
makes an easy stop. Reinhart, Klefbom and Hendricks kill off the remainder of
5-on-3. Jets PP simply doesn’t have the skill set to take advantage of having an
- Jets were terrible on the PP, but
they were quicker than the Oilers all period. Oilers will need to move their
feet and get skating. Shots were 16-10 for Winnipeg. Oilers forwards had three
shots, but the defence had seven. Glass half full or half empty? The Jets had way more energy in the first frame.
- Reinhart with a very good play
from the point. The puck comes to him at the left point, and without looking
down, he controls puck, sees the Jets forward, slides an inch to the left and
fires a shot that hits the post. A really good play.
- Whether it happens on October 8th
or later this year, once Nurse is a regular in the lineup he is going to be
a fan favourite. There is so much to like about his game, but later in his shift he
over commits on a play that leads to both D-men being in the corner, and then he
makes a bad change which leads to Matt Fraser getting a partial breakaway.
Talbot with another solid pad save.
- Strudwick is sitting beside me and he devouring his bag of
popcorn like it’s his first beer on a Friday night. He sees me laughing and looks
over and says, “This is dinner. I had a bowl of soup for lunch.” Don’t you work
at dinner TV? I think he needs some pull around that station, so they at least
feed him once every six hours. During the TV timeout he goes and gets another bag
of popcorn. This bag lasts over 20 minutes, unlike the first one which he crushed in less than three.
- In case you haven’t noticed not
much is happening on the ice. This is a tough game to watch. However, the
Oilers have out shot the Jets 5-0 in the first seven minutes of the frame.
- Yakupov with a sneaky move from
out of the corner, but Hutchison stops his quick snapper.
- Christoffer continues to impress
me. He is destined for the AHL, but if he keeps playing like this he might earn himself a two-way contract in the future. His motor never stops.
- Hendricks with a hard hit in the
corner, but gets called for boarding. Jets back on PP, where they have
struggled mightily. They manage one weak shot on this man advantage.
- Schultz with
another strong play along the boards. He looks stronger and much more assertive
on the ice. This is unexpected, but a huge positive for the Oilers. He is a
very good skater, and if he just bumps into players he will knock them off the
- The fourth line with a strong shift started by Christoffer. He drives hard to the net, but
slides the puck wide. It stays in the zone and leads to a good chance for
Slepyshev and one for Schultz.
- Reinhart makes the right play
most of the time. Very poised with the puck.
- A lucky bounce finds RNH wide
open in the slot, but he fires it high and wide.
- Adam Lowry is a pain to play
against. I like the Jets NHL lineup, but they lack high-end offensive players.
They make life uncomfortable for teams, but until they get some pure finishers
I’m not sure they can make a deep run in the playoffs.
- Oilers out shoot the Jets 12-8 in the second, but Winnipeg still leads 24-22 overall. Talbot has looked very sharp. He’s tracked pucks well, has had good rebound control and has been very efficient with his movements. When I spoke to him after the trade, he said he wanted to cut down on wasting energy when making saves. I’m far from a goalie expert, but he has looked very calm and relaxed when moving post to post.
- Eric Comrie starts in goal for the Jets.
- Oesterle rushes another pass. He hasn’t looked as good as he did on Monday.
- Hendricks is tripped racing for a lose puck and Oilers go on the PP. RNH line with Schultz and Klefbom. RNH wins the faceoff and ten seconds later Eberle flips home a rebound over a sprawled Comrie. 2-0 Oilers. Pouliot and RNH pick up assists.
- Chariot rips a one-timer from the point that beats a screened Talbot. There were no Jets in front, and Nurse lost where he was on the ice and Talbot couldn’t see it. 2-1 Oilers with 14:30 remaining.
- Schultz walks in from the point, but doesn’t pull the trigger. He usually loves shooting from there. A missed opportunity.
- Jump Around by House of Pain is still a great song.
- Christoffer takes a hooking penalty and Jets back on the PP. If they manage more than one shot on goal I will be surprised. They got no shots. Reinhart did block one though.
- There are nine minutes remaining. I wish we could go to three-on-three right now.
- Just as I was typing the Jets tied the game. Lowry with a high, hard wrister from the slot. I think Talbot went down a tad early. Raffl with the assist. He has been very good for the Jets. 2-2.
- Does anyone actually scream when the in-house announcer yells, “Somebody scream?” I doubt it. I think it is time to retire that saying.
- Jets have worked hard tonight. They don’t have much skill in their lineup, PP proved that, but they have not been outclassed 5-on-5.
- Yakimov is a large man. He weighs 230 and he protects the puck very well. He needs to move his feet more, but he has potential to be an NHLer down the road.
- Christoffer with another penalty. No worries though, the Jets won’t get a shot on goal. Bingo, they don’t, and Matt Hendricks breaks away and is tripped up and rewarded a penalty shot with 12 seconds remaining on the PP.
Hendricks uses his patented leg-kick, fake shot, deke to forehand and beats Comrie. He fanned a bit on shot, but Comrie was so far out of the net it didn’t matter. 3-2 Oilers. He uses this move so often, Matt Laughlin in Washington named it “The Paralyzer.”
- Just as PP expires Jets get two quality chances. They are much better at EV than they are on the PP tonight.
- Jets call a timeout and pull Comrie with 1:09 remaining. Letestu line and Gryba/Reinhart on to protect lead. Expect this forward line on in these situations often in regular season. RNH line comes on with 38 seconds remaining with Klefbom and Schultz. Oilers win 3-2 and now they will play 3-on-3.
- Draisaitl, Yakupov and Klefbom vs. De Leo, Fraser and Chariot. Jets control off the faceoff, and enter the Oilers zone, but they turn the puck over. Draisaitl to Yakupov and they have a two-on-none. Yak back to Draisaitl, but his return pass is too far in front of Yakupov and they don’t get a shot.
- I love this format. So much room on the ice. Once a team has possession in the offensive zone it is tough to defend.
- Kosmachuk with a good chance, but Talbot makes the save.
- Eberle, RNH and Schultz have been a trio twice in this format, and they have controlled the puck, but when they create a scoring chance they miss the net. Oilers call a timeout with 34 seconds remaining. Damn you McLellan.
- Letestu, Pouliot and Schultz take the draw, but neither team creates a chance and it ends without a goal.
Reinhart’s overall game was better than Nurse’s tonight. Nurse’s
potential is great, but the small parts of his game need some refining.
The Oilers have the luxury of being patient with him, and I will be very
surprised if he doesn’t start the season in the AHL. That isn’t a knock
on his ability or potential, but tonight Reinhart was better at
simple things. Move the puck quickly, stay in the lane. But can Reinhart look this poised against NHL speed? We will see later as preseason progresses and the lineups are filled with more NHL players.
McLellan mentioned he didn’t like their situational play. “We didn’t read who was tired. We didn’t recognize which side to attack. Systems are one thing, but we will need to discuss what they saw in specific situations and how we can improve those decisions moving forward.”
1. Justin Schultz: Had a goal, but more importantly he showed an edge we haven’t seen before.
2. Griffin Reinhart: Very poised all night. He didn’t take any risks. He made the smart, safe play all game.
3. Adam Lowry: He is load to play against. Big, strong and involved all night.
What were your thoughts?