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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers @ Winnipeg Jets

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Oilers parachute into Winnipeg for second of a two game roadie

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks
It’s Caleb Jones time
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (17-12-2) (5th, Pacific)

Winnipeg Jets (19-9-2) (2nd, Central)

6:00 PM MST

Bell MTS Place

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Arctic Ice Hockey

The Oilers scored six goals in Colorado to emerge on top, but it came at a heavy price. Defenceman Oscar Klefbom is expected to be out of the lineup for weeks after blocking a shot with his hand. Caleb Jones has been recalled, and there will certainly be some line juggling on the back end. The Oilers will try to keep it all together as they visit Winnipeg this evening. Can the Oilers keep putting the puck in the net?

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

I don’t think either team could handle the other team’s best players,...I don’t think they had defence that could handle our guys and we struggled at times to handle their guys.

Source

That’s Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock after Edmonton’s 6-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.

The Avalanche couldn’t handle Leon Draisaitl or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Both players had three points. Colorado got three point efforts from Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon. Fortunately, the game had to end at some point. Lucky for us, it was when the Oilers had the lead.

The Jets ars saying

One of the things we’ve been good at, going back to last year and probably even prior to that, is we’ve beaten the teams below us at the right rate...We haven’t played a lot of teams that are ahead of us, certainly recently, but we’ve done what we needed to do. There’s lots of proving ground left for this hockey team.

Source

That’s Jets head coach Paul Maurice on Winnipeg’s successes.

“We haven’t played a lot of teams ahead of us” means that you’re killing it, yeah? Well, almost. The Jets have done well against teams that are below them in the standings. When they’ve played some of the top ranked teams, they haven’t fared as well. Good thing they’re closer to the top than the bottom, eh?

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • Half a surprise is better than no surprise at all, I suppose. The good? The Oilers are getting their top defensive scorer in Bakersfield to help stop patch the loss of Oscar Klefbom while he recovers from his hand injury. The bad? Finding someone to plug-and-play to cover Oscar Klefbom and his 28-ish minutes a night will likely be a significant challenge for this blue line. Here’s hoping the goals keep coming off Oiler sticks in the meantime.
  • Drake Caggiula will be available for tonight’s game. He’s coming off a hand injury that he sustained in practice last week.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ three point effort against the Avalanche continues his quiet ascent into what could be a 70 point year. He’s got 29 points (10-19-29) in 31 games so far this year, he’ll no doubt be looking to add to that total tonight in Winnipeg.
  • GOALS, ETC: The Oilers held off the Avalanche on Tuesday night by scoring six goals. Colorado ranked fourth in the league in scoring, avering 3.6 goals per game. The Oilers will need to hang six more goals tonight, as Winnipeg is right behind Colorado with an average of 3.53 goals per game. For the Jets, both Blake Wheeler (5-33-38) and Mark Scheifele (17-20-37) are averaging well over a point per game through 30 games played.
  • RIEDERS ON THE STORM: Tobias Rieder is back tonight, look for him on a line with Drake Caggiula and Ryan Spooner. He missed the last 13 games with an upper body injury.
  • NET GAINS: I’ve got Mikko Koskinen tonight, Cam Talbot home tomorrow against Philly. Koskinen will likely be looking for his eleventh win of the season (10-3-1, .927 SV% / 2.20 GAA / 3SO). Cam Talbot will look for his third consecutive win tonight. Koskinen is likely for tomorrow. Look for Winnipeg to counter with Connor Hellebuyck (13-8-1, .910 SV% / 2.80 GAA).
  • SICK BAY: Andrej Sekera (ankle) and Oscar Klefbom (hand) will be out. The Jets are without forward Andrew Copp (undisclosed) and defenceman Joe Morrow (lower body)