Welcome, welcome, welcome to another preseason GDB that will be your guide for tonight’s rematch between the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets. As you all know, this is the second time these two teams have met in the past four days and the Oilers will be looking to repeat the result from Thursday’s victory despite facing off against a much more experienced lineup for today’s sequel. Will our brave heroes extend their winning streak to four games, or will their quest be halted by an opponent that’s seeking preseason revenge? We’re only hours away from finding out.
Isn’t it great to have hockey back again? Here we are on a wonderful September morning and our boys in blue are getting set to play for their fourth straight preseason win. To this point in the warm-up season, the Oilers, veteran rosters and otherwise, have been playing some pretty good hockey which is nice to see even though the games don’t really matter yet. The hope, obviously, is that having these games ending in wins can translate into some kind of confidence moving into the season, but, I’ll readily admit, that could always be me drinking the Kool-Aid again. Real points or not, all I care about is that the boys are feeling good about the way they’re playing because getting early points in the season is going to be crucial.
For tonight’s game, the Oilers are going back up against the Winnipeg Jets and will be looking for the same result that we saw on Thursday night. That said, they will not be facing the same Jets roster that lost by a field goal in Edmonton. The Oilers kinda dummied the Manitoba Moose a little bit, which is what you hope should happen when Connor McDavid faces minor leaguers, but tonight’s contest will offer up a much stiffer competition as the Jets will be icing a lineup that features a lot more of their NHL talent while the Oilers will be playing more youngsters and hopefuls. If the Oilers are going to make it four games in a row then they’re going to have to work on tidying up some of the lapses and mistakes that have cost them needless goals against while also maintaining their ability to fill the net.
I’m not saying that I don’t get movement in the bathing suit area by seeing the Oilers put up seven goals, we all know I do, I’m just saying that I’d like to see them add a little polish to what’s happening on the defensive side of the puck. As much as I like seeing the boys put up some offence, I’d also like to see them work on keeping turds out of the sandbox too. And if I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, the Oilers will be starting the season with at least one rookie on their blue line and that will add some pressure on the defensive zone coverage and that means everyone else will have to have their details locked in. But, the bright side is that there are still five preseason games to work on ironing those things out and we’ll have to keep an eye out to see how the d-zone shapes up.
Friend of the Nation, Reid Wilkins reported yesterday Mikko Koskinen will be getting the full game today and I’ll be watching to see if he can keep his nerves under control. In his last start, he allowed a first shot goal right from the slot and that’s the kind of hole that can easily sink a ship. As for the rest of the line combinations, nothing has been set or announced apart from who is playing so I just took some swings at what the lines might look like, but I’ll be sure to jump in and update as news comes out.
***UPDATED**** Reid tweeted out the line combos above for tonight’s forwards and I almost nailed it!
On another note, I’ve been digging how quickly the Oilers have been making cuts so far this pre-season and I like that we’re already getting close to being at the opening day roster. Personally, I think getting the team looking as close to what we’ll see on opening day as quickly as possible can be nothing but beneficial so I appreciate how swiftly they’ve been swinging the axe.
The Jets are running with a much more experienced lineup than what we saw on Thursday night and it will be interesting to see how the Oilers, specifically the rookies on D, will handle the upgrade in talent. Those first two lines will likely cause some mayhem for the defence and I’ll be watching to see how they handle the added pressure.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
This rematch is the first of a back to back which sees the Jets heading to Calgary for a rematch with the Flames tomorrow night. It’s a weird preseason schedule where the Jets have three sets of back to back games with all three being one home game and one away game. This game also marks the half-way point in the preseason as the Jets only have three more games after tonight.
Rumours are swirling that Evan Bouchard, the rookie defensemen is going to stick with the team instead of being sent back down for some more seasoning. The Oilers are known for rushing their players before they are ready and some people are wondering if Bouchard will suffer the same fate as some others before him.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Regardless of what the score ends up being, the Oilers will be winners when they leave Winnipeg. 4-2 Oilers.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Seeing as Winnipeg doesn’t have an airport, it’s no surprise that the players were exhausted from their trade ride in from Mississauga.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Various species of mushrooms grow in abundance in Finnish forests and Jesse Puljujarvi and Patrik Laine get together pre-game to enjoy the year’s harvest.
If you’ve ever been to one of our season opener parties before, you already know that one of the best parts is getting 200 Nation citizens together to meet up and start off the new season on a high note. Not only are these parties a great way to get the band together, it’s especially fun to meet new people that you’ve been
arguing with talking to online for Gord knows how long.
WHAT YOU GET:
The bag: Exclusive Season Opener Party tee, Pint GC, Oodle Noodle GC, stickers, and a ticket to enter all of the draws and raffles
The giveaways: Memorabilia giveaways, NationGear giveaways,
Anything else: We’ll also be having a NationGear pop-up shop that features some of the new shirts and hoodies that we’ve got for the upcoming season.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Where: The Pint Downtown
When: October 6th, with doors opening at 10 am and the hockey game starting at 11 am
Who: Every single one of you… that is of legal drinking age
Why: To celebrate the launch of a new season, get together, and to raise as much money as possible for our friends at KidSport
How much: Tickets are $25 each with net proceeds going directly to KidSport
How: Tickets are available here.