The Edmonton Oilers shutout the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 4-0 on Sunday afternoon in their preseason opener. Stuart Skinner stopped all 19 shots he faced while Pickard finished things off with 11 saves of his own.
Edmonton got goals from Markus Neimalainen, James Hamblin, Ryan McLeod, and Dylan Holloway.
Here’s a look at how Edmonton looked in their preseason opener:
Preseason game 1 Oiler lines:— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) September 25, 2022
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It didn’t take long for the Oilers to get things going!
Just 41 seconds into the game Markus Neimelainen beat Rittich from the slot after Brad Malone shovelled him the puck from the Winnipeg corner. A pretty good way to open up preseason action. 1-0 Oilers. Dylan Holloway had the second assist on the goal.
An early trend in this game is that Holloway seems to make something happen every time he steps on the ice. A solid start for the 2020 first-rounder.
Not a lot of time was spent in the Oilers' end through the first 10 minutes, with Winnipeg only mustering four shots in that frame. However, Stuart Skinner was sharp gloving down a few of those.
The Jets went to the game’s first powerplay with about 9:30 remaining in the period. It was Brett Kulak who got caught with a hook. Winnipeg had a few decent looks but couldn’t beat Skinner on the chance.
Jason Demers, on a PTO with Edmonton, nearly made it 2-0 by launching a one-timer from just above the hash marks that was turned away from Rittich. A great second effort by Tyler Benson in the corner created the chance.
Holloway followed it up with a magnificent drive to the Winnipeg net. His backhand hit Rittich’s glove but he drew a hooking call to send Edmonton to the powerplay. Evan Bouchard had a rocket from the point as the penalty expired, but it wasn’t good enough to find twine.
Winnipeg had a late flurry of shots but couldn’t solve Skinner. The Oilers lead 1-0 on the score clock while the shots were tied at 13-13.
The middle frame started with a surprisingly fast pace. The Oilers had the first few chances of the period, both coming off of odd-man rushes led by Benson. The first one saw Benson miss Xavier Bourgault on a 2-on-1 while the second one ended with Benson hitting Hamblin but getting stoned by Rittich.
The Jets started to find their groove just over five minutes in. They had a few extended periods of time in the Edmonton zone and it eventually resulted in a powerplay as Demers was sent to the box for a trip. Things got worse as Dmitri Samorukov got caught with a hook early in the kill. A lengthy 5-on-3 for Winnipeg.
They spent just about the entire chance in the Oilers’ end but Skinner was sharp as could be. The prospective backup came up with a few huge saves to keep Edmonton up 1-0.
Skinner left the game stopping all 19 shots that came his way. Calvin Pickard came in to finish off the second half of the game.
Edmonton got their second PP late in the period, a chance to get some insurance on their lead. Again, they had chances but couldn’t find the back of the net. Not to worry, however, as the Oil went right back to the PP after Winnipeg got caught with too many men.
They had exactly a minute left in the period to make something happen and they couldn’t. The second ends just like the first did with Edmonton leading 1-0. The Oilers had one minute of PP time to start the third period.
The Jets came out shooting in this one. They were throwing everything they had at Pickard but still could not find a way to get on the board.
Winnipeg had yet another PP chance to knot things up. Like clockwork, nothing going for them. The game remained 1-0 for Edmonton....not so fast though!
As the penalty expired, Brad Malone forced a turnover in the Winnipeg end, found Demers whose shot was stopped by Rittich but James Hamblin was all over the rebound and he FINALLY got one into the net. The game’s scoring drought ends as the Oilers got insurance from Hamblin in a 2-0 game.
Ryan McLeod added another goal as he poked the puck off the stick of David Rittich who tried to play it away from his net. A real Mike Smith-esque gaffe by the Winnipeg goaltender and the Oilers take the 3-0 lead.
The floodgates were opened from there as a shift later Evan Bouchard wired BOMB from the point that tipped off Holloway’s stick and into the net. We went from a 1-0 game to a 4-0 game VERY quickly. The Oilers were off to the races.
That is how we would end things! A flurry of three goals in the third period as the Oilers win 4-0!
- Dylan Holloway looks excellent. The perfect mix of size, speed, and skill. If his play continues at this pace he will be a lock for the opening night lineup if he keeps this up.
- Tyler Benson didn’t have much fanfare around his name this year around but I liked him tonight. His skating looks better and he was involved all night long. His path to make the big club is harder than ever but I thought he looked solid.
- Loved what we saw from Stuart Skinner. He looked calm, cool, and collected in the net turning aside every shot he faced. A good start for Stu.
- Ryan Murray had a good game tonight as well. He didn’t do anything too noticeable but that is what was so good about his game. Steady, defensive d-man who should be more than serviceable as the team’s 7th D this year.
- Outside of a few alright looks on the net, I wasn’t impressed with Jason Demers. Too many cooks in the kitchen when it comes to Edmonton’s defensive group. He’s probably the odd-man out.
- Xavier Bourgault looks like a player that needs to adjust to this higher level of play. I didn’t think he played bad but he looked a little overwhelmed at points. Considering this will be his first pro season that shouldn’t be too surprising.
- Reid Schafer wasn’t noticeable....apply the above but he won’t be pro this season.
- Some other guys I thought were alright tonight: Brad Malone, Markus Niemalainen, and Noah Philp.
- Jake Virtanen is the most pointless player the Oilers could have brought into camp from a skill standpoint. He doesn’t bring anything to the current crop of players and he showed as much during this game. That’s not even touching how much of a reprehensible person he is. Cut him immediately and allow the fanbase to try to forget he ever wore the jersey.
- The Oilers will be back in action tomorrow as they will head to Seattle for a date with the Kraken. Puck drop is set for 8pm MTN.