With cuts looming for both teams, Monday night's game between the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers set the stage for some prospects and fringe players to convince their respective coaches to keep them around for a while longer. This was the second meeting of the pre-season between the squads, this time taking place in Edmonton. Both teams dressed primarily inexperienced line-ups, with only a handful of players guaranteed spots on the opening day rosters.
The top-line in this contest might be the third line on the opening day roster for the Jets, as Adam Lowry, Mathieu Perreault and Michael Frolik. The trio also served as the forward line for the first-unit power play, but their first attempt was short-lived as Frolik took a penalty of his own to kill his own power play.
On the ensuing 4-on-4, the Jets were caught puck watching, as Mark Fayne was left all alone and wristed a softy past Hutchinson, who will want that one back. The goal almost made the Mark Fayne four years, 14 million dollar contract look good. Almost.
The Jets could not stay out of the box, and it nearly cost them again not too long after the first goal. With Anthony Peluso serving a delay of game penalty, Tyler Pitlick knocked the puck past Hutchinson, but is was deemed that Benoit Pouliot interfered with the Jets' netminder, and the goal was waved off.
The Jets closed the period strong with a lot of pressure, but Viktor Fasth and the Oilers held a 1-0 lead after the first frame.
Early in the second, the Jets once again found themselves killing a penalty in what became a trend during the game. With Lowry in the box, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins showed that "1st-overall pick" skill they seem to have, as a deft pass from The Nuge was one-timed past Hutchinson to make it 2-0.
Mathieu Perreault, who was the best Jet on the ice on this night, brought the Jets within one when he lasered a shot past Fasth a few minutes later. It was a terrific snipe job, and a taste of what the Jets' biggest free agent signing can do. Lowry and Keaton Ellerby had the helpers.
Taylor Hall once again showed off that skill of his, as he was likely the best PLAYER on the ice. With Joshua Morrissey and Grant Clitsome screening Hutchinson, who got caught cheating towards the centre of the ice, and Hall snapped it short-side. That was Hutchinson's last action of the night, as paul Maurice opted to give Danny Taylor a chance in net.
By the time the game was a little over half over, the Jets had already been on the penalty kill five times.
Jets outshot Oilers 17 to 5 in this period.
The penalties picked up for both teams, which isn't a good way to impress coaches. The scoring died off, as did the shots on goal.
The biggest bit of excitement of the frame was probably the fight between Anthony Peluso and Steve Pinizzotto, as Pinnizzotto left the penalty box after serving time for a skirmish with Jacob Trouba. Peluso taught him you don't do that, and left a fist sized red mark on Pinnizzotto's face.
- The future third line, assuming Lowry makes this team, looked pretty good. Perreault with his snipe show, and a pair of decent wingers in Lowry and Frolik. Lo-Ro-Fro...or something like that
- Nikolaj Ehlers and Nicolas Petan still looked impressive, but I have a sneaking suspicion this may have been the last time we see Ehlers this year, despite his dynamic skating....that kid really can move. Petan got murdered at the faceoff dot (2 of 12), but his puck handling skills are terrific.
- Hutchinson was less than impressive, stopping 11 on 14. Obviously, this was a bad night, but Jets fan should temper expectations after an impressive three game stint last year. #samplesize
- Speaking of goalies, Danny Taylor looked decent in limited action, but again: #samplesize. I'm trying to figure out how Taylor lands a contract, and I just don't see it. That includes AHL level contracts with the IceCaps.
- Special teams. Good news? Jets killed all eight penalties they faced. Bad news? Jets HAD TO kill eight penalties. Morrissey has taken a number of penalties so far this year that leads me to think he needs some more time to develop. The power play had some moments, but were unable to put anything by Fasth.
- Viktor Fasth stopped 27 of 28, and looked much better than Devan Dubnyk, who was last seen somewhere in Arizona.
- Sick Bay: Eric Tangradi was tripped into the side of the net and left with a lower body injury, Patrice Cormier took a J.C. Lipon stick to the eye, after already having his stitches busted open earlier in the game. Mathieu Perreault fell awkwardly at one point but managed to finish the game.
The Jets play tomorrow night at home in Winnipeg against the Ottawa Senators, with the Evander kane, Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler line likely to see the ice, with the second line in contention to play as well. Ondrej Pavelec probably starts because...yeaaaaa.