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Photo Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

GDB -5.0: Winnipeg Doesn’t Have an Airport (6pm MT, Oilers TV)

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.

LINEUP

Oilers

Khaira-Strome-Puljujarvi
Rieder-McLeod-Yamamoto
Caggiula-Brodziak-Kassian
Malone-Marody-Aberg

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Nurse-Benning
Jerabek-Bear
Gravel-Garrison

Koskinen
Talbot

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.

Jets

Connor-Scheifele-Wheeler
Perreault-Little-Laine
Harkins-Reichel-Appleton
Everberg-Suess-McKenzie

Myers-Byfuglien
Schilling-Kulikov
Morrow-Poolman

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Comrie
Hellebuyck

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…

From Jetsnation:

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.

TONIGHT…

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.

THE SEASON OPENER BRUNCH PARTY

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.

    • Spydyr

      It is the preseason seeing how the kids and the bubble players do against a NHL heavy line-up is a good thing. Winning every preseason game gets you absolutely nothing.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        Well you have to see how they will stack up against the big boys, this is it. I think we will get taken to the cleaners, but I hope to see some decent play out of a few players. Kositsin will be a huge question mark that will be answered as to whether he can handle NHL play, now he wont have a defence that we will see when the season gets underway, but time to see if he can play. If Kositsin plays poorly, look for him to start the season in Bakersfield to get him games and Montoya to back up Talbot. No way the Oil let Kositsin sit on the bench with a question mark about his play until he has to go in a do some games, I think they would rather let him get some games under his belt down in Bakersfield and see how he performs…. and if he doesnt, oh boy there will be a problem.

        I am excited to see how JJ, Puljujarvi, Rieder, McLeod, Yamamoto and Malone along with Bear do against some tough competition, I am hoping Jesse and McLeod keep on rolling, Yamamoto I think will take a rough ride, but the kid is a trooper and hopefully he will have his head up. Kassian, I think might show his snatly self, but I would like to see Kassian use his speed, bang and crash like he did the first year, if invisible Kassian shows up, look for him to be trade bait.

    • Steve Tambellini

      Why are you so negative? The “official” rebuild kicked off in late 2009 and getting creamed year after year was the secret to all those high draft picks. Looking at tonight’s roster gives me a warm tingling sensation.

  • Spydyr

    There is an old story of the Team Canada 1972 management group scouting Tretiak. They watched him play one game and he stunk the joint out. The Team Canada group came home saying they will have no issue with the Soviet team as their goalie is a sieve. The thing was they failed to do their homework. The game they watched was the day after Tretiak’s first child was born. he was still $hittered.

    I’m hoping the game we saw from Koskinen his first start was nerves , rust and adjustment to the smaller ice surface.

  • 18% body fat

    this team is going to get slaughtered. Poor Marody, is going to have to shut down that top line with a 4th liner and a replacement level player. Good news is koskinen will get lit up and chia can go find a real backup.

  • Spydyr

    A big tell for me that they plan on keeping Bouchard around for the regular season is he is not playing in this game when they are dressing their “B” lineup but in the games they are dressing their NHL players.

      • bradleypi

        Are you implying that the Oilers are hiding him so he doesn’t get hurt but will throw Yamamoto out there?? I doubt Bouchard is scared lol. He’s a big boy. I think Spyder might be on to something for sure. I think he’s already made the team as well. Bear has been pretty underwhelming so far. The job is Bouchard’s to lose now

        • jesse says yep

          Not at all. Im thinking more along the lines that Winnipeg is icing a pretty good team that may just steam roll the lineup that the Oil sent. Yamo is going pro this year whether he makes the team or not so should be expected to handle these types assignments if he has any hopes of playing professional hockey. My guess is that they are sending Bouchard back to junior and want to keep his confidence intact.

      • Spydyr

        It shows that they want him to get time with the big boys not the kids and bubble players. Too see how he fits, to protect him and to give him every chance to succeed in making the team to start the season.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I agree, the Oilers need to find out if Kositsin can handle playing at an NHL level, now he isnt going to have the defence core the Oilers will field when the season starts, but they need to find out what he can do under fire, if Kositsin doesnt do well look for them to send him to bakerfield to get some games in

      • toprightcorner

        I think Kostinen should start in the AHL and play the 9 of the first 10 games and then get the call. If he starts in the NHL he will only play 1 of the first 10 games and that is not ideal for a goalie that could use more playing time to get more used to the different angles of a smaller rink

        • Dallas Eakins Hair

          If he really needs to get used to the North American style of game and based on his first showing, I would say he needs to go to the AHL as well, I’d rather see him get some games in and see how he does rather than him sitting and we find out when he actually has to start an NHL game. It will give the Oil some time for evaluation and Kosits in a chance to get some games under his belt. What the Oil will do well think after tonight we will see, but I sure dont think it would hurt either side to have him go to bakersfield

  • jdubs

    who cares if they get beat tonight….it’s preseason and on top of that, we don’t need Byfuglin coming down on Leon or Connor in the pre-season….the young cats need a good test and playing against the big boys in Winnipeg will do them good either way….lots to learn and this is the safest way to learn….zero consequences win or lose in pre-season

    • Windrunner

      And there should be. Oil beat them down When Laine, Scheiff, Wheeler et al. were watching from above, seems only reasonable their better team beats up on our wannabes…

  • toprightcorner

    Khaira – Strome – Puljujarvi will be in tough tonight against the Jets top line or even second line. This will be a really big test for JP and if he can at least hang and break even against them, it is a very good sign that he could be ready for the top 6. If he can break even with tonight’s line, he should excel with Draisaitl or McDavid

  • Vanhellian

    I’m a little suprised anyone cares about the outcome? The last time the Oilers had a losing record in the preseason was 2006 right? This is simply an assessment period.
    I am watching Aberg with interest and pulling for Rattie to keep bringin’ it.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      If Aberg doesnt pick up his game, I think he will get waived, too many have played better than him not to stay, and after blowing his chance with McDavid and the no show, I think he is way down on the depth chart.

      • Arfguy

        Got a breakaway and didn’t look very dangerous on the shot. Had an opening for a shot on the PP and it got deflected.

        Yeah, I am worried that he won’t make the cut. I am also wondering why Jesse Puljujarvi isn’t playing on the wings during the PP, rather than in the middle of the umbrella.

  • Shameless Plugger

    Nice looking PP. Love the compete they showed. On Three separate occasions they won races/battles for loose pucks. The players all seemed to know where to rotate after possession was regained. Man I hope that’s a forecast of things to come.

  • Pizzaface

    Funny how the attitude changes on hear when the Oilers lose a preseason game compared to when they win. Typical bipolar oiler fans.
    Oilers will miss playoffs. No goalie, No defense. Puljuarvi looks like he still can’t skate.
    Hey it’s me Puljujarvi at an impossible scoring angle with my stick in the air ready for a one timer. Lol.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    Let the “let’s dump on Koskinen” comments commence.

    Haha

    Never change Oilers fans. Never change.

    BTW, NONE of those goals can be blamed on him. He had a good game when he wasn’t facing one-t’s from the slot, deflections from the slot, a turnover created by his team leading to a 2-on-1, and wicked wrists through traffic, and yet another 2-on-1. But yeah, PC just wanted 2.5M

    *slow clap*

    • TDSM31

      News flash for you…NHL are expected to stop the odd wrister through traffic, 2 on 1’s, one timers. Hellybuck managed to keep a lot of those out of his net at the other end. Bottom line: $2.5MM for a 30 year old that has never played in the league is not a good management of salary cap dollars. There’s usually a reason goalies this age have played their whole careers overseas and that has showed in his appearances thus far.