The Jets are no doubt feeling good about picking up a W in the first game of their best of seven series against the Oilers. If I was a member of the Jets, I’d feel especially good about everything having done it without the services of two top six forwards. Winnipeg’s goaltender stood tall on his 28th birthday to pick up the win, the game winning goal was scored on a deflection in front of Oilers goaltender Mike Smith. Winnipeg added a pair of empty netters to seal the deal.
What happened for the Oilers? They didn’t score any goals, other than Jesse Puljujarvi’s tally in the second period. They’re going to need more than one goal a game in order to make any noise this series. With a back-to-back coming up in games 3 and 4 on Sunday-Monday, it’s crucial to pick up a win in game two on Friday night.
So, how do the Oilers go about doing that?
- Both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held off the scoresheet. I don’t think that happens again in game 2. Add the fact that the Oilers only got one power play in a game they could have easily had three or four, and that’s the way the ball bounces there. Run it back and we’ll see what happens.
- I thought Mike Smith was fine. Yeah, he could have not let out a rebound on the first goal, but Smith was far from the person who orchestrated the odd-man rush for for the Jets.
- PLAY YOUR BEST PLAYERS: I’ve got to see some new faces in tomorrow’s lineup. Eleven minutes of James Neal plus ten-and-a-half minutes of Zack Kassian have me yearning for Tyler Ennis and Joakim Nygard. Or just about anyone who can skate a bit. Not sure Ennis or Nygard are your goal scorers, but they might get you closer to the door. Household name Dominic Toninato scored the game winner for Winnipeg. Stranger things could happen.
- PLAY YOUR BEST PLAYERS, II: Slater Koekkoek was a thorn in Edmonton’s side during last year’s play in series for Chicago. Now an Oiler, Koekkoek played exactly 11 minutes as the 6 D in Edmonton’s 4-1 loss to the Jets. Caleb Jones is right there, Coach. He might be able to help level off a couple of minutes from the 28+ minutes Darnell Nurse spent on the ice last night.
The Oilers are in action tomorrow night for a crucial game 2 against the Jets. A couple of changes in the bottom six and one on defence would give the Oilers their best possible chance of taking a split to Winnipeg. Will we see any roster movement between now and then?