Welcome, dear internet friends, to a brand new GDB that is helping us all prepare for the second game of the miniseries between our beloved Edmonton Oilers and the Winnipeg Jets.
Thursday eveningt, the Oilers pulled out one of the best defensive efforts we’ve seen from them in a while, and they did a really good job of limiting the Jets’ ability to get high quality scoring opportunities. It was a low-scoring game that was the complete opposite of what happened Night before against the flamesto remind us all that the Oilers can win this type of hockey game if they need to. The run and gun games are always a great time to watch, but it’s the tight games that they have to win in the playoffs. Sure, Winnipeg had more shots on goal than the Oilers, but a good chunk of that came from outside the ice and was easily processed by Koskinen. From start to finish, the guys did what they had to do to win the game, despite what the Jets were trying to get back. What the Jets didn’t do, however, was find a way to contain Connor McDavid. The captain was fantastic from start to finish, looked like a man on a mission and it was a real pleasure to see him lead his team to an important win.
In the second half of this series, the Oilers have a chance not only to gain sole ownership of first place, but also to create a little bit of ground between themselves, the Jets, and the rest of the North Division teams that are chasing them. I know two more points won’t give them much wiggle room, but with another tough week on the schedule (Montreal x3, Toronto x1) I can’t think of a better way for the guys to end this four- Games segment than with another win against the team that is directly behind in the table. It won’t be easy though, the Oilers and Jets split the first two series of the year and you have to imagine that Winnipeg will do whatever it takes to get the same result the third time around. Still, if the Oilers can hold the same level of play we’ve seen all week and the big boys keep rolling, then I think we should go into Sunday in a celebratory mood.
Let’s see what the numbers say …
Figures courtesy of Natural statistics trick (Fantasy at 5 × 5)
vs. Winnipeg (2020-21) – 5GP: 3-2-0 – 18 GF, 18 GA
RNH – McDavid – Puljujarvi
Kahun – Draisaitl – Archibald
Ennis – Haas – Kassian
Shore – Khaira – Chiasson
Nurse – Barrie
Lagesson – Larsson
Russell – bear
At the time of writing, neither the media nor the team announced any lineup changes for tonight’s rematch, so I have Thursday’s line combos listed above except Mike Smith is back on the web. As always, I’ll be sure to step in and make the changes as soon as news is available.
*** UPDATE *** Reid Wilkins has just tweeted the line-ups and it looks like Caleb Jones is about to come out, which is not exactly surprising given that he played the fewest minutes of any defender on Thursday night. May I also admit how surprised I am to see Jujhar on the line-up again?
Statsny – Scheifele – Wheeler
Connor – Dubois – Ehlers
Copp – Lowry – Appleton
Perreault – Thompson – Lewis
Morrissey – Demolo
Forbort – Pionk
Stanley – Poolman
As calm as the Jets strikers were on Thursday night, I wouldn’t bet the same thing happens so often, and I’ll watch the Oilers be able to deal with what is certainly a hungry group.
WHAT YOU SAY…
Early in this game, the Jets focused on keeping the Oilers’ skaters on the edge and limiting their scoring opportunities in the middle of the ice, which is one of the best ways to slow down a strong offense. While they have been largely effective in executing that fixture list, some mistakes came back to bite them in this showdown when McDavid scored both of his goals.
Make the first mistake early in the second period, defender Josh Morrissey not big enough to dump in along the boards, which gave the young superstar the opportunity to score points from the circle on the left. Later in the middle frame, veteran Derek Forbort Accidentally wedged in the neutral zone and eventually fell behind the game, allowing McDavid to score a two-on-one rush before scoring his second goal of the game.
Prediction of the match day: The Oilers score an early goal from the bottom six that puts them on the path to a 4-2 win.
Obvious matchday prediction: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl everyone gets a point.
Not-so-obvious matchday prediction: Connor McDavid is recognized as the best player in the world, though it pains some on the broadcast team to compliment him on Auston Matthews.
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