The Winnipeg Jets welcome an old foe to the MTS Centre in the Edmonton Oilers. The local and national media have certainly been making their own headlines today, marking this game as "Scheifele vs McDavid". The close friends, who started their friendship during the recent World Cup of Hockey, have a mutual respect for each other. However, this respect shouldn't be seen as weakness, and as important as this game is for the forward momentum of each club, the friendship will be put aside for the time being.
Mathieu Perreault was cleared today and will return to the line up tonight, albeit on the fourth line with Thorburn and Copp. I don't think he'll stay on that line for long, as I think it's just a matter of time to get his feet beck underneath him. Marko Dano is also in the lineup after taking an uncalled high stick to the face in the last game, cutting him for stitches and a shiner. Dano draws in on the third line with Lowry and Tanev. Toby Enstrom is back after missing 3 games while taking some personal time back in Sweden, and will draw in with Jacob Trouba. Chariot and Postma are the third defensive pairing. Stuart, Burmistrov and Connor are the scratches, but I would hope and suspect Connor will be transitioned to the Moose upon the return of Nic Petan. Connor Hellebuyck gets the start for the Jets in the net.
*35 seconds into the game, Little scores for the Jets, after some excellent work by Stafford and Wheeler setting him up. The Little line was matched up against the McDavid line early and made them pay, as the Oiler's Talbot seemed to be screened by Larsson. Great to see Little score, as he just came back from some extensive time off after being injured during his first shift of the season back in October. 1-0 Jets.
*Thorburn takes a highsticking penalty on the Oiler's Maroon, and the Oilers capitalize as Letestu redirects the puck past Hellebuyck. 1-1 early. Several moments later, Perreault takes a boarding penalty, but the Jets kill off the ensuing penalty. Several minutes later, Thorburn and Maroon renew their friendship and decided to make it official by taking fighting majors.
*Laine scores on the power play after Oilers' Pouliot takes a roughing penalty. Jets really set this up nicely as Ehlers, Perreault and Enstrom (all left hand shots) are in a position to pass easily across to Laine. 2-1 Jets despite the first period ending with the Oilers leaing in shots 13-5.
In goofing around after reading the following article about Jets' prospect Tucker Poolman, the Jets look really good defensively next year (upon seeing the suggested lines below, go easy on me in the comments section, as it's merely that, a suggestion...kind of like a cereal box with the suggested serving picture on the front. Got it?)
*Second period starts with Trouba taking a holding stick penalty, and the Oilers' Draisatl scores on the powerplay. 2-2 tie. Perreault has moved up in the lineup as expected, as he's now with Dano and Lowry, and Tanev joins Copp and Thorburn. Stafford hooks Oiler's Russell for the Jets' 4th penalty of the game, not counting Dano's offsetting penalty as the first period ended. The Jets need to really need to reel in the penalties, as the Oilers' Letestu scores on the power play. 3-2 Oilers with all three Oilers' goals coming on the power play. Good Grief!
*Pucks to the net is the Mantra for the Oilers on this evening, as Maroon fires the puck towards the net with Kassian providing a screen, and the puck squeaks past Hellebuyck. 4-2 Oilers. My oh my! Hellebuyck, you gotta have those. The Jets seemed to rally after that, as all four lines seemed to keep the pressure on the Oilers. Lots of chances at the Oilers' net, but Talbot shuts the door on all chances thrown his way. Oilers' Larsson called for holding. but the Jets' can't score on the resulting power play, as the Jets' special teams and defense are taking a beating in this game. Period ends with the Oilers leading and out shooting the Jets 24-16.
*The Jets' power play gets a great chance early in the 3rd as the Oilers' Russell takes a tripping penalty on the Buffinator. During the power play, Oilers' Nugent Hopkins steals the puck and Enstrom catches up with him down the ice, but Nugent Hopkins trips him up and the Jets go on the two man advantage. Laine to Byfuglien, back to Laine and BOOM! Laine scores his second of the game, (4-3 Oilers) and the Jets are still on the PP, but then klilled off by the Oilers.
*Oiler's Draisatl scores on a sharp angle, making it 5-3 Oilers with just over 12 minutes left. Draisatl has two goals and 4 points in the game. No sooner than the goal was announced, Oilers' Sekera shoots the puck towards the net and it makes it's way thru Hellebuyck. 6-3 Oilers and Hellebuyck is pulled for Hutchinson.
*It's announced that Scheifele has headed to the dressing room with over 4 minutes left in the game. Uh oh! Hopefully it's nothing serious as the injury bug has really bit this team. On the plus side, Perreault now centers Laine and Ehlers, but it makes no difference as the Oilers win 6-3.
*3 unanswered goals, poor PK and defensive play, and mediocre goaltending was the Jets downfall on this evening.