The Edmonton Oilers will have some difficult decisions to make after Thursday night’s 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
Going into the game much of the focus was on Connor McDavid. McDavid did not look that great in his preseason debut against Arizona this past Tuesday, but all seemed well against the Jets. The Oilers captain had an extra jump in his step and was able to pick up a goal on the power play. However, there were two other players that made much more noise.
Ethan Bear was paired up with Oscar Klefbom, a day after it was realized that Joel Persson would be out 7-10 days with an injury, and the young-man from Regina made the most of his opportunity. Through 40 minutes Bear had shown some excellent defensive play and was moving the puck well, but he decided to turn on the “jets” in the third period. Bear potted the tying goal on a feed from, Russian PTO, Anton Burdasov and then rifled home Edmonton’s fifth goal of the game in what was a B-E-A-UTIFUL display. Safe to say that Bear did himself a lot of favours.
The other impressive player was that of Tomas Jurco (or Yurcho). Jurco was buzzing all night long and was able to score off a turnover in the first period, pick up an assist on McDavid’s power play goal and then score another goal in the third period. He has taken on the rank of “The Answer” so far this preseason.
So, with that, lets go over Edmonton’s 3 stars of the game:
- Ethan Bear — His 2 goals were the cherry on top for what was his best game of the preseason so far.
- Tomas Jurco — Kept up with Connor McDavid all night long and was hard on the puck as well. His second goal of the game was a pure beauty that shows that he has some skill to add to this Oilers lineup.
- Patrick Russell — The younger Russell has been one of the more impressive forwards all preseason long. I absolutely love how hard he forechecks and how tenacious he is in all three zones of the ice. Making a real good case to make the Oilers starting lineup in a bottom 6 role.
Honourable Mentions: Connor McDavid, James Neal, Colby Cave
From the best...to the worst.
While the Oilers had a variety of players have good nights, they also had a few that did not show up to play.
The most notable player that struggled was Brandon Manning. He was paired with William Lagesson on the bottom pairing and they struggled mightily. Manning was beat routinely and Lagesson, being a rookie, struggled to keep up with his partners mistakes.
Matthew Benning also had a game to forget. He was responsible for one Jets goal after being beat out in the corner and his play was overall lacking in all areas. He did pick it up in the third period but that doesn't add to his poor play over the first 40.
The Oilers will close out their preseason this Saturday as they head to Calgary to take on the Flames.
Mikko Koskinen is expected to get the start for the Oilers.