The first road trip of the 2020-21 NHL season marches on for the Oilers as they roll into Winnipeg for their first two game set of the season vs the Jets. Edmonton is facing a team that’s coming off a big 6-3 win, the last of a three game sweep over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday that put them into third in the Scotia North Division. The Jets are also entering a new era, one without Patrik Laine. Winnipeg shipped off their Finnish star along with Jack Roslovic to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third round pick in 2022.
Dubois won’t be able to join the Jets until he finishes his 14 day quarantine, so that’s a bonus for the Oil in this one as they look to keep pace in the division. The Oilers currently sit one point back of the fourth and final playoff spot, currently held by Calgary.
Keys To The Game:
The vaunted powerplay of last season has to find a way to wake up. The PP this season currently is sitting in the bottom half of the league 13.0% good enough for 23rd in the NHL. The Penalty Kill of Winnipeg is having it’s issues, sitting at 71.4, the Orange and Blue need to take advantage of that if they do find themselves up a man or two.
Sitting back on a squad with a revamped first line is not an option. The top six of Winnipeg has to get to work early five on five and stay out of the box.
Players To Watch:
Jesse Puljujärvi will be on the top line with McDavid and RNH for the first time this season and he absolutely deserves this chance. He only has one point in six games so far this year he’s been generating scoring chances when he’s been able to get to the net. Puljujärvi brings a bit of fresh air to the line compared to Zack Kassian who has struggled on the top line really ever since the bubble postseason where he failed to record a point vs Chicago, Kassian drops down to the third line for tonight’s game.
For the Jets, they’ve been led by Kyle Connor who has the Jets and NHL scoring lead. Connor early on, also leads the Jets in Powerplay goals. Slowing down Connor as well as Mark Scheifele (eight points) and Blake Wheeler (seven points) is a must for the Oilers.
Edmonton Oilers Projected Lines:
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Connor McDavid –Jesse Puljujärvi
Dominik Kahun – Leon Draisaitl – Kailer Yamamoto
Tyler Ennis – Kyle Turris – Zack Kassian
James Neal – Devin Shore – Josh Archibald
Darnell Nurse – Ethan Bear
Kris Russell – Tyson Barrie
Slater Koekkoek – Adam Larsson
Winnipeg Jets Projected Lines:
Kyle Connor- Mark Scheifele- Blake Wheeler
Andrew Copp-Paul Statsny-Nik Ehlers
Kristian Vesalainen-Adam Lowry-Mason Appleton
Mathieu Perreault-Jansen Harkins-Trevor Lewis
Josh Morrissey-Dylan Demelo
Derek Forbort-Neal Pionk
Logan Stanley-Nathan Beaulieu
Oiler fans, the top line excites me, in limited minutes at five on five the RNH-McDavid-Puljujärvi line against the Maple Leafs on Friday they generated six scoring chances in less than three minutes together. In a game where keeping pace with the rest of the division is big, expect this group to come out with some jump.