The Edmonton Oilers will look to do something tonight that they have yet to do in this shortened 2020-21 season. They are looking to both win back-to-back games for the first time and sweep a two-game miniseries with a North Division rival. They can accomplish both with a victory in Winnipeg against the Jets.
The Oilers knocked off the Jets on Sunday night by a final score of 4-3, aided by Leon Draisaitl’s dramatic goal with less than a second remaining. The win pushed Edmonton to 3-4-0 on the season. This is the second of nine meetings between the sides this season.
Connor Hellebuyck starts for the Jets, while Mikko Koskinen again gets the go for the Oilers.
Keys To The Game:
Edmonton: A full sixty minutes is vital. The Oilers completely dominated the second period of Sunday’s game, but they entered the frame down 1-0 because of a terrible first period. The Oilers were fine in the third period, but had moments where they sagged. The club has yet to play a full three periods this season. They are the better team on paper, and playing a full sixty should give them the victory here.
Winnipeg: Be physical. The Jets are a bigger, more physical team than the Oilers. In theory, that should allow them to win ample puck battles and control the pace of the game. The Jets were strong on pucks and hemmed the Oilers in on Sunday in the first period, but appeared to tire out in the second half of their back-to-back games. Be physical and heavy and they’ll have a chance tonight.
Players To Watch:
Edmonton: Caleb Jones has not played since the third game of the season. Tonight, Jones will return to the lineup on a pairing with Adam Larsson. When right, Jones provides the Oilers with mobility from the defensive zone and puck moving ability. The Oilers are a better team when Jones is in the lineup and playing to his potential. I’ll be interested to see if he answers the call after a few scratches in a row.
Winnipeg: Over the last three seasons, Blake Wheeler has quietly been an elite playmaker in the NHL. The Jets captain combines size, speed and skill and is one of the most underrated players in the entire league. He didn’t have a huge impact on Sunday night, but is the kind of guy who usually burns the Oilers. I’ll be watching him tonight to see if he can burn the Oilers’ weak bottom-six.
Tyler Ennis cleared waivers today for the Oilers, and is expected to be shifted to the taxi squad. It’s likely that Devin Shore will be joining him, as both are not expected in the lineup. Slater Koekkoek will be scratched for the first time this season, while William Lagesson also sits. Patrick Russell will make his season debut, as he and Jujhar Khaira are coming up from the taxi squad.
Edmonton Oilers Lines:
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Connor McDavid – Jesse Puljujarvi
Dominik Kahun – Leon Draisaitl – Kailer Yamamoto
James Neal – Kyle Turris – Zack Kassian
Josh Archibald – Jujhar Khaira – Patrick Russell
Darnell Nurse – Ethan Bear
Kris Russell – Tyson Barrie
Caleb Jones – Adam Larsson
The Jets will roll with largely the same lineup tonight, sans for Hellebuyck starting for Brossoit in goal. The Jets still don’t have Pierre-Luc Dubois available to them as he is in COVID-19 quarantine protocol following his trade from Columbus. Bryan Little, Tucker Poolman and Nate Thompson are all on IR and will not play tonight.
Winnipeg Jets Lines:
Kyle Connor – Mark Scheifele – Blake Wheeler
Andrew Copp – Paul Stastny – Nikolaj Ehlers
Mathieu Perrault – Adam Lowry – Mason Appleton
Jansen Harkins – David Gustafsson – Trevor Lewis
Josh Morrissey – Dylan DeMelo
Derek Forbort – Neal Pionk
Logan Stanley – Nathan Beaulieu
“We want to make sure that we’re building off it,” Connor McDavid said on Monday when asked about Sunday night’s victory. “We can expect a much more energized Jets team tomorrow. I think they’re going to bring their A-game and we have to match that.”
Sunday night’s victory matches the win total for the Oilers against the Jets a season ago. The Oilers went 1-1-1 in three meetings with the Jets in 2019-20. The Jets have had the better of the recent battles, having registered a point in eight of their last ten against Edmonton. Overall, the Jets are 7-2-1 in that stretch.
Mikko Koskinen has started all seven games for the Oilers this season and will again go tonight with Mike Smith still on IR. Not only has he played a ton of minutes, but he also leads all goaltenders in shots against, facing 237. That is 77 more than Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson. Koskinen is also first in saves with 215.