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GDB -3.0: Goin’ to Winnipeg (6:00pm MT, Streaming)

For the first time since being swept in the first round of the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers will be facing off against the Winnipeg Jets. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s game day.

The last time we saw the Oilers square off against the Winnipeg Jets was on May 24th when they were swept in the first round of the playoffs after dropping three of those four contests in overtime. Oilers fans were pissed, Jets fans were laughing at us, and it was the kind of kick to the pills that we’ve almost come to expect around here but hoped we were long past. For a lot of us, facing the Jets in the postseason was only supposed to be a speedbump on our way to greater things, but in an all-time classic Oilers fashion, the team found new and creative ways to shoot themselves in the foot to the point of an early exit. I know that series doesn’t have a whole lot to do with game three of the pre-season, but I’d still like to see the boys end the skid against Winnipeg even if it is in a meaningless tune-up match.

As for how we make that happen, winning will be up some of the bottom six regulars and a handful of hopefuls to find a way against a Winnipeg team that will feature plenty of their everyday players. Considering that a bunch of the Oilers big boys were in the lineup last night against the Kraken, I knew that tonight’s matchup against the Jets would be lighter on NHL skill and rather act as another look at how our prospects stack up against whatever Winnipeg throws their way. With more NHL talent being added to rosters around the league with each passing pre-season game, nights like these will offer a much better measurement of where prospects like Benson, Bourgault, et al are at as compared to where we need them to be in the future. For the Oilers, this will easily be the biggest test they’ve faced in the preseason so far, and I’ll be keeping a close eye on how they’re able to manage a Jets roster that’s closer to being NHL-ready than either of the opponents they’ve faced so far.

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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Jetsnation.ca:

Before the pre-season began, the Jets had already stated that the backup netminder position was Eric Comrie’s to lose. Well, it seems those may have been some poor choice of words as the 26-year-old didn’t convince anyone that the second-string role should be awarded this early in camp.

Receiving the start during the first exhibition game on the schedule, Comrie allowed a trio of goals on 27 shots against, with two of them coming from medium-danger areas. Making matters worse, the other goal came from a low-danger area near the top of the left faceoff circle, which allowed the Senators to tie the game in the third period – not a great way to start the pre-season.

The only upside for the 6’1″ goaltender was that he stopped all seven of the high-danger shots against, five of which occurred during five-on-five situations.

Sure, an argument can be made about reading too much into the first exhibition game of the season. But if Comrie continues to post mediocre results through the rest of the way, then perhaps that could open the door for prospect Mikhail Berdin to put his hat into the ring, especially if he enjoys a noticeable performance out of the gate.

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Foegele – McLeod – Kassian
Benson – Marody – Griffith
Esposito – Malone – Sceviour
Safin – Cracknell – Bourgault

Koekkoek – Bouchard
Lagesson – Ceci
Niemalainen – Kesselring

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Konovalov
Skinner

A couple of lineup notes that stick out to me: 1) The Foegele-McLeod-Kassian trio could be a preview of what we get for a third line when the season rolls around and I’m excited to see how they work together. 2) Konovalov will get the start with Skinner playing the back half, and I’ll be watching to see how these boys are able to handle the likes of Wheeler and Scheifele firing pucks at them.

Jets

Wheeler – Scheifele – Svechnikov
Connor – Perfetti – Vesalainen
Harkins – Lowry – Gustafsson
Poganski – Eyssimont – Stastny

DeMelo – Heinola
Morrissey – Stanley
Kovacevic – Schmidt

Hellebuyck
Berdin

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The Jets didn’t release their line combos at the time of posting outside of who would be playing so I just gave what’s listed the ol’ college try even though I know nothing probably lines up the way it should. That said, if I do get some updates on what the actually trios and pairings will look like for tonight’s game, I’ll jump back into the article and make the edits.

TONIGHT…

Game Day Prediction: Oilers prospects beat the Jets by a 4-2 score, and the Nation rejoices.

Obvious Game Day Prediction: There will be airport jokes. Gord knows there will be airport jokes.

Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: The stream will be flawless and we’ll make it through the game without any glitching or interruption.