Edmonton Oilers (9-7-0, 3rd in North) vs.
Winnipeg Jets (8-5-1, 4th in North)
15 February 2021
7 PM MST
TV: Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED
SB Nation opponent: Arctic Ice Hockey
Keeping the streak alive
The Edmonton Oilers are back in Alberta’s capital city on Monday night to take on the Winnipeg Jets. The game marks the third matchup of the season between these two teams. The previous games were split in a dramatic 4-3 Oiler victory on Jan 24 and a dominant third-period effort to secure a 6-4 Winnipeg win on Jan 26.
It will be a critical two-game series for both clubs as they are nearly deadlocked in a very close North division. Ahead of puck drop, the Oilers sit just one point ahead of the Jets in the standings with 18. However, despite the closeness in standings, the Oilers are on a bit of a burner.
Backstopped by some great early goaltending by Mike Smith (who will be in the starters net tonight) the Oilers have found themselves in the midst of a three-game winning streak. While two of those wins came against the lowly Senators, their most recent was an impressive 3-0 shutout against Montréal. The Oilers are an impressive 7-3-0 in their last 10 games.
The roster will be looking nearly the same as it did against the Canadiens, the one exception being Jesse Puljujarvi returning to the top line after clearing the NHL’s COVID protocols over the weekend. Lagesson and Bouchard will draw in once again while Ethan Bear will miss another game due to injury.
Kris Russell and Caleb Jones draw the short stick and will be healthy scratches.
Three things to watch:
- Mike Smith has been on quite an impressive run through his first two games of the season. While we can’t possibly expect him to keep up the ludicrously high 985sv% that he has right now, it will be interesting to see how long he can keep this up. He will be facing his stiffest competition yet as he will stare down some of the division’s best shooters in Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor.
- The top line is reunited with the return of Jesse Puljujarvi. He was missed on that line during the Montréal game and it was noticeable. It’s nice to see the big Finn finally getting premier minutes and developing chemistry with McDavid. However, I’d keep an eye on Nugent-Hopkins tonight. He’s been getting grade-A chances nearly every game but hasn’t been potting them like usual. 93 is due for a big game.
- Question marks are swirling around Edmonton’s blueline. Tonight marks the sixth straight game that Tippett has scratched Caleb Jones in favour of William Lagesson. The Swede has performed well in a shut-down role but that 3LD role is still very much up for grabs. Keep an eye on the defensive group tonight as, much like Smith, they will be tasked with shutting down a strong Winnipeg offence.
Lets. Go. Oilers.