Pre-season hockey is a curious beast. It’s meaningless, yet provides an interesting window into coaching, player evaluation, and talent assessment. We’re now a few games into the fake 2018-19 NHL season and one thing is absolutely, abundantly clear. The experiment of Tyler Myers on the left-side is an abomination and needs to be ended as soon as humanly possible. The idea was terrible from its very inception, and tonight only further reinforced why the Winnipeg Giraffe cannot be trusted to manage his off-side. Oh yeah, the Jets also beat the Oilers 5-3, but who cares about that, right?
The First Period
The Jets were a bit pissed about having an 0-for power play over the last several nights, so future Winnipeg captain Mark Scheifele decided to open his account a little under 4 minutes into the game. As per usual, Scheifele cashed in from the Oshie spot, which no one seems capable of shutting down. Mark’s ability to open space in the center slot and rip shots off on the one-timer with quick, precise releases is absolutely terrifying to behold.
The rest of the period was basically hot garbage, with the Jets giving up a ton of shots and 2 markers to the hated Oilers. Edmonton wonderkid Kailer Yamamoto and former WHL blueline standout Ethan Bear gave the Oilers a pleasant advantage, though the home crowd was less than pleased. Bear’s goal, in particular, highlighted the multitude of reasons the Jets penalty kill will likely give me ulcers this season. War, war never changes, and neither do Winnipeg’s special teams.
The Second Period
If you thought this second frame was going to be an improvement for the Jets, then boy gee howdy did you set yourself up for some disappointment. Both teams stretched the play through the neutral zone and used fast edge-work to create scoring chances, but it was Edmonton that held the majority of shots on target. Despite being outshot something along the lines of 29-9 through the first two periods, Winnipeg’s forwards answered the toll of the bell. At the 7:42 mark, Skyler McKenzie notched his first big club goal on a deflected Joe Morrow shot. Mikko Koskinen was helpless to stop the blistering puck, and just like that, the Jets were tied 2-2.
Edmonton continued to apply offensive pressure throughout the period and earned an opportunistic power play at the midway point. Despite the turn in good fortune, Winnipeg absolutely embarrassed the Oilers man-advantage unit on a glorious Scheifele short-handed goal. Blake Wheeler grabbed a nice breakout pass from defenseman Scheifele and fed Mark a can’t-miss dish that whipped past Koskinen.
Somehow, against the run of play, the Jets were once again leading. Not all was sunshine and rainbows, naturally. I complained about the Myers-Byfuglien duo in the intro, but good lord almighty, this pairing needs to die in a fire. It’s painfully obvious Myers can’t handle the reads and stick-play required to manage the left side. With Byfuglien doing his usual stuff, that pairing is getting absolutely hammered, even with favorable offensive zone usage. Myers has turned the puck over along the offensive blueline several times, and the Oilers very nearly connected on some great breakaway chances. Please, Paul, stop this madness.
The Third Period
The Oilers got a bit silly and took quite a few penalties this evening. Wheeler factored into the scoring once again and potted a tasty top-shelf power play goal, punishing Edmonton for its misdeeds. The Jets were still getting outshot at even-strength, but continued to pound away on the power play.
Just for kicks, McKenzie cashed in a second goal 3 minutes after Wheeler’s power play marker, putting the Jets firmly in the lead at 5-2. Edmonton kept chipping and chopping away, but most of their shots were swallowed up by Connor Hellebuyck. While Hellebuyck was kept busy, he seemed to handle the Edmonton traffic well enough, snaring some dangerous long-range shots and a few nerve-wracking net-front chances.
The Oilers were still a bit salty, so Darnell Nurse and Yamamoto connected for an end-of-game goal that was pretty nice to watch, if only for opposition fans. Nurse led a great right-wing rush and dished a perfect pass to Kailer, who buried it past Hellebuyck. Something tells me these two are going to have long futures in Edmonton. All told, a 5-3 win in a game where the Jets were outshot 41-21 is about as much as you could ask for.
- Vesalainen is really good, y’all. He may make this starting roster after all.
- Congrats to Petan 2.0- er, Skyler McKenzie on his wonderful night!
- Poolman was noticeably improved after a thoroughly disastrous start to the pre-season.
- The Moose are gonna be hella stacked.