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GDB Game Notes: Oilers @ Jets

The Oilers are heading to Winnipeg riding a four-game winning streak which is their longest of the season thus far. Here are your game day notes.

1. Last time the Oilers played the Jets, they had a wild travel schedule that involved them flying from Boston to Edmonton then from Edmonton to Fargo, North Dakota before bussing to Winnipeg because Winnipeg doesn’t have an airport. Instead of going through customs three times in a 24-hour span, the Oilers decided this time to fly over Winnipeg and parachute into the city.

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2. The Oilers’ last game against the Jets represented a spark and a turning point in the team’s early season. The Oilers were 1-2 with back-to-back losses to kick off the season and a pretty ugly win over the Rangers. They were down 4-1 heading into the third period but Connor McDavid willed them back for an overtime win. That win looked like a turning point as the Oilers would go 6-3-1 over their next 10 games but then a stretch of six losses in seven games ultimately cost Todd McLellan his job.

3. Since hiring Ken Hitchcock, the Oilers are 8-2-1. One of those losses came in overtime when Edmonton blew a lead against Anaheim with a few seconds left and one of them came when Connor McDavid had the flu and didn’t play in Dallas. Only three times in Hitchcock’s tenure have the Oilers allowed more than three goals in a game. One was against the Kings and two of the five scored were in an empty net, one was against the Stars in the aforementioned game in which McDavid didn’t play, and one was Tuesday’s win in Colorado when the Avs scored two late goals in a game that was already out of hand.

4. Of course, a lot of this is rooted in an overall team improvement and commitment to defence, but Edmonton’s goaltending has been largely excellent under Hitchcock. Cam Talbot has a .925 save percentage in three games in the Hitchcock era while Mikko Koskinen has a .936 save percentage in eight games.

5. The Jets own a fairly similar 7-3 record to the Oilers in their last 10 games. They’re currently riding a two-game winning streak with big wins over the Flyers and Blackhawks in which they combined to score 13 goals. The Jets have been shockingly consistent all season. Only once have they dropped back-to-back games. That came back in late-November when they lost to Calgary and Minnesota. Otherwise, the Jets don’t have a losing streak this season.

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6. While the Jets have had a strong start to the year, there’s no doubt their schedule has made life easy on them. They’ve played one-third of their games against bottom-dwelling teams like St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. In those games, they’re 9-1. In their other 20 games against non-terrible teams, they’re 10-8-2, which is far from bad, but it isn’t excellent either.

7. A key for Winnipeg to do well against good teams and ultimately take the step to Stanley Cup contender will be the play of Connor Hellebuyck. He had a poor start to the season but has improved as of late. He owns a .946 save percentage in the month of December, in four starts, which is a massive improvement on the .904 save percentage he had in 19 starts before that. The Jets need December Hellebuyck to be the Hellebuyck they see the rest of the season.

8. The Jets also boast a lot of offensive firepower. They rank fifth in the league with 107 goals through 30 games played. A lot of that comes down to a dominant power play that has scored on 30.3 percent of chances so far this season. Patrik Laine has 10 of his 21 goals this season on the man advantage and looks like a young Alex Ovechkin waiting at the top of the circles for a one-timer.

9. Last game, the Oilers gave the league’s second-best (behind only Winnipeg) power play six different opportunities but managed to kill off five of them. The Avs failed to convert in what was a mismatched special teams matchup between an elite power play and a mediocre penalty kill. If you play with fire long enough, you’ll get burnt. It would be best if the Oilers could limit their time in the sin bin against the Jets.

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10. Speaking of Laine, I wonder what kind of contract he’ll end up signing this off-season. This summer’s batch of restricted free agents is an interesting one. We only ever hear about Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, but there’s also Matt Tkachuk, who’s arguably Calgary’s best player, Laine, who might be the league’s best scorer, and Mikko Rantanen, who could win the Art Ross this year, among others. Laine is on pace for 57 goals and a $10 million post-ELC deal isn’t out of the question.

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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 12/13/2018 – 8:00 am MT



  • Redbird62

    I have no love for the City of Winnipeg, but can you people stop with the Winnipeg has no airport joke. It was mildly amusing only because a few gullible readers actually questioned whether it was true or not, but this is already getting stale.

    As for the game, Winnipeg sure keeps things interesting so far this year. While Winnipeg is winning about twice as often as they lose, there are a lot of lead changes in their games. Surprisingly for a good team, they have lost 5 games (two in OT) they have led after 2 and they have lost 7 times including OT when scoring first (those may be some of the same games). They have lost only 4 times when the other teams score first.

  • Abagofpucks

    LOL how about scoring id say that’s something we are pretty streaky at and they score a lot. But hey i like your angle, i hope we do get this one it would really help.

  • Abagofpucks

    LOL how about scoring id say that’s something we are pretty streaky at and they score a lot. But hey i like your angle, i hope we do get this one it would really help.

  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    It would be best to stay out of the box, indeed. If Benning gets three minors against the Jets, as he did against the Avs, he should have to walk back to Edmonton.

    Surprised there’s no mention of Brossoit’s sv%. He’s struggling right now with a league-leading .932 and with a cap hit of $625K, but he’s not good enough for the Oilers after five years of development. Sigh.

  • Heschultzhescores

    2nd pick overall on a pace for 57. 3rd pick overall on a pace for 5.7 if he catches fire. Maybe he can outscore his countryman tonite. Small victories

    • Ty Guy

      No doubt…..i hate looking at the “what could have been” drafts of the past…..someday maybe we will find a 5th round 30 goal man too…but i wont hold my breath.

      • Redbird62

        Fifth rounders or later for any team who ever have a 30 goal season have been pretty rare over the last 20 years. Only about 9 or 10 late round forwards in the past 20 years scored at least 30 goals in a season out of maybe as many as 2000 draft selections. Dallas really lucked out with a guy like Jamie Benn. Crossing my fingers (but not holding my breath) that Kirill Maksimov is that guy for the Oilers.

    • Hemmercules

      So we could have had the league leader in save percentage at 625 grand instead of a good goalie making 2.5 mil? Not saying Brossoit would have been that good in Edmonton but I don’t really get your logic?? Both guys are on fairly small sample though. See who fares better at the end of the season.

  • Oilswellthatendswell

    Is it confirmed that Talbot is starting?? I would have thought Hitch would start Kosk in this game and play Talbot tomorrow against a struggling Flyers squad.

  • Redbird62

    McDavid will probably cross the 300 point mark in this his 240 game. If he does, he will be tied with Malkin and Trottier as the 16th fastest. Other than Crosby and Ovechkin, who did it in 219 and 237 games, and Cy Denneny (210 games in 1926) everyone else on the list above him played in the wild 80s and 90s. Even Crosby, Ovechkin and Malkin had some benefit from the post strike crackdown. Gretzky did it in a mind-numbingly fast 159 games. To those who might think Lindros was overrated, he sits fifth at 210 games. When healthy, that man could play.

    Hopefully Connor puts a big dent in his total on the way to the next 100 points in an Oilers victory.

  • Oiler Al

    To have even half a chance at a win…… stay the heck out of the penalty box!The teams top point getters, garner almost half of their points from the power play.PS: they are also defensively sound. There is hardly a minus player in the line-up. The Lubricators are in for a tough game.

  • Abagofpucks

    @Hemmercules well maybe you just need to ask yourself which one you would want to be our No 1 goalie Kosko or Brossiot, given the amount of games played, shots against, shutouts and which goalie is on the better team blah blah blah and so on.