Doesn’t it feel like forever since the Oilers last played? I don’t know how I feel about these three-day breaks after a big win, ya know? Happy Family Day, everybody.
The last time the Oilers and Jets met up, a third period collapse led to our boys leaving points on the table and missing out on the chance for a series sweep. In the weeks since that first series, Edmonton looks to be turning a corner and I’m eager to see whether or not the trend will continue in the third round of the season series. It will also be interesting to watch how the Oilers respond after some cross-country travel and a few days off, and I can’t decide whether I think this short gap between games was beneficial because of the rest and practice time or if I wish they had been able to keep rolling after that big win against Montreal. I guess we’ll see, huh? Either way, the Jets are going to be another huge test to pass if the Oilers want to increase their winning streak to a season-high of four games, especially when you consider that Winnipeg is rolling into town after a disappointing loss to the Senators.
I was looking at the Jets’ roster in anticipation of the third game of this nine-game series, and it’s hard not to notice the incredible depth that they could have going on down the middle. Fortunately, the Oilers caught a break as the newly-acquired Pierre-Luc Dubois will miss this first game of the series with an injury, which creates an advantage they have to capitalize on. But even with Dubois out of the lineup after getting banged up against the Sens, this is a team with a top-nine that can burn you if you’re not careful so it will be extremely important for the Oilers to limit their turnovers and not try to force their decisions with the puck. Couple Winnipeg’s depth scoring with strong goaltending from the defending Vezina Trophy winner, and you’ve got a real challenge to overcome at both ends of the rink. If we’re going to cap off our long weekend in celebration of an extended winning streak, the Edmonton Oilers will need to offer up a full 60 minutes filled with effort, special teams success, and more of the simple plays that have led them to win seven of their last 10 games.
Let’s see what the math says…
|LAST 10 GAMES||7-3-0||5-4-1|
|EXPECTED GOALS FOR%||49.63||45.45|
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (fancies at 5×5)
RNH – McDavid – Puljujarvi
Kahun – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Ennis – Khaira – Archibald
Shore – Turris – Chiasson
Nurse – Barrie
Lagesson – Larsson
Koekkoek – Bouchard
According to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, Mike Smith will be getting the start tonight while Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, and Kris Russell remained on the ice for some extra work which suggests that they’ll be out. At the moment, I have the same lineups listed from last week’s win against the Habs apart from reinserting Jesse Puljujarvi back onto the top line.
Copp – Scheifele – Wheeler
Connor – Statsny – Ehlers
Perreault – Lowry – Appleton
Vesalainen – Thompson – Lewis
Beaulieu – Morrissey
Forbort – Pionk
Stanley – Demelo
I don’t think I’m talking out of school when I say the Jets, have an edge in the goaltending battle already, and even though Pierre-Luc Dubois (lower body) isn’t expected to play, this is a team that still scored nine goals in two games against the Oilers less than a month ago. The Oilers still rely heavily on their 10th-ranked powerplay but the Jets spend less time in the box than all but four other teams so our boys are going to have to find a way to get things done at even strength.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
Following the Jets’ 5-1 victory over the Senators, forward Pierre-Luc Dubois received some treatment for a lower-body injury but it wasn’t expected to keep sidelined at the time. Unfortunately, this issue forced the 22-year-old to depart practice early on Saturday and he also wasn’t able to recover in time before Sunday’s afternoon affair.
To make matters worse, coach Paul Maurice has already ruled out Dubois for Monday night’s matchup against the Oilers, although it’s still possible he could be allowed to return on Wednesday. In the meantime, teammate Nate Thompson, who hasn’t played since Jan. 21, is expected to return to action during this contest and is slated to serve as the fourth-line center.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Jesse Puljujarvi comes back to the lineup and makes an immediate impact with a first-period goal that gets the Oilers started on their eventual 3-2 win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Jets will, once again, ask for a tour of the airport.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Despite being gone for a few weeks now, Patrik Laine continues to text his ex-teammates to ask if they miss him and let them know Paul Maurice wasn’t so bad after all.
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