Coming into Thursday’s match between the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers, the two teams were both on streaks of opposing kinds. The Albertans were hoping to extend their winning ways, while the Manitobans were aiming to end their skid. Let’s see which one got their wish….
Once again, the team playing our Jets shot out of the gate and immediately started to test out Winnipeg’s defense. The opening 2 minutes of the 1st saw Hellebuyck turn aside 5 Edmonton shots, including a quality look on a 3 on 2 and a dangerous rebound chance. Vilardi and the 4th line managed to spend their first shift of the game in the Oilers zone and Jonsson-Fjallby tested Edmonton’s Skinner for the 1st time. The Lowry line followed up with a good shift of their own, getting a couple shots on net including a Dillon point shot through a lot of bodies in front. After a bit of back & forth play, a neutral zone turnover by Ehlers led to some serious pressure by the Oilers. Hellebuyck had to come up big on three occasions, but Appleton was flagged for a holding the stick call to send the visitor’s to their 1st powerplay of the game. Lowry, AJF, & Namestnikov made some early defensive plays to allow the Jets to clear the puck to open the kill, but eventually the Oilers were able to get set up. The biggest chance occurred when McDavid zigged through the tightest space to suddenly appear right in front of Hellebuyck, but once again the Jets’ tender was up to the challenge. The man-advantage ended with a couple long point shots for Edmonton and Winnipeg countered with an Ehlers rush. The Dane found Scheifele in a prime shooting location, but the center was unable to beat Skinner’s glove. The play was back in the Jets’ end for a while, but a good poke check by Morrissey eased the pressure. A bit later, Ehlers picked up the puck at full speed and zipped up the ice before ringing a hard quick shot off iron from the mid-slot. The teams traded opportunities that saw Hellebuyck make another fantastic save from in tight and a 4th line rush that saw Barron come close with a backhand from the side of the net. With the period nearing an end, a Namestnikov shift in the offensive zone saw an Oiler grab onto Iafallo’s stick and the refs actually noticed. Winnipeg’s much maligned PP came onto the ice with Vilardi joining the top unit and they were able to get set up early. Connor found Perfetti with a nice cross-ice pass, but Skinner was quick to come across the crease to make the save. The Jets won the face-off and the puck made its way to Connor on the left boards. He made a nice seam pass to find Scheifele in the right face-off circle and the center used the available space to pick out Perfetti at the side of the net. A laser pass found the young winger and he was able to deflect his 8th goal of the season by a sprawling Skinner. Not a whole lot occurred in the final minute & a half, as Winnipeg went to the dressing room with the lead.
First Period Stats: Score: 1 to 0 for the Jets, shots 12 to 8 for the Oilers, 58.2% Deserve To Win for the Oilers, Expected Goals – all situations (1.13-0.74 EDM), & 5 on 5 (1.09-0.34 EDM)
The first half of the second period saw both squads create high danger scoring chances, with a slight edge to the Oilers in puck control. Hellebuyck continued to shine, making a great save through traffic and stoning McDavid from the low slot. Winnipeg countered with a lovely play from the top line when Ehlers floated a pass to Scheifele only to have him quickly tap the puck to Connor for a 1 timer. Fortunately for Skinner, the blast went wide, but Connor was back again when his centerman sprung him on a contested breakaway with a long stretch pass. A little while later, the 1st line had another quality shift that saw Scheifele set up Ehlers from behind the net for a great look right in front of Skinner. The trio continued to push and almost set up Scheifele for a dangerous 1 timer, but did end the shift with a quick snap shot from Connor. Edmonton was back on the attack, with the Namestnikov line being pinned in their end. Hellebuyck made another huge save when he quickly crossed the crease to deny a great Oiler chance from a high danger area. The refs clearly missed an interference penalty when Morrissey was hit without the puck, briefly sending the defenseman to the dressing room. Edmonton was able to control play for the next few shifts, but Morrissey returned to the bench just in time for Winnipeg’s 2nd powerplay of the game. Both of the Jets’ units were able to create chances on the PP, with Perfetti being in the perfect place for a rebound, but the Oilers’ Nurse was a bit quicker and cleared the rebound from danger. Then late in the advantage, an Ehlers & Niederreiter give & go led to a quality look for Schmidt on a rebound. The Jets received another prime opportunity to add to their lead when McDavid got called for a holding the stick penalty, sending Winnipeg to their 3rd PP of the game. This powerplay created an early look for Vilardi after he recovered a rebound, but otherwise tested Skinner very little. The Jets PP couldn’t go a game without giving up a great SH scoring chance, so they let the Oilers’ Janmark go on a clear-cut breakaway. Hellebuyck stayed locked in and casually blockered the attempt aside, allowing his team to go to the 2nd intermission holding onto their slight advantage.
After Two Periods Stats Score: 1 to 0 for the Jets, shots 23 to 17 for the Oilers, 52.1% Deserve to Win for the Oilers, Expected Goals – all situations (2.02-1.97 EDM) & 5 on 5 (1.92-0.83 EDM)
While Edmonton controlled the majority of play through the first 2 periods, I think Winnipeg did an admirable job in keeping them to the perimeter for the most part. They also were able to create enough attacks of their own, keeping the Oilers from fully pressing for offense. Things started out good for the Jets when the top line went on a rush to open the frame, with Connor skating the puck into the offensive zone before sending it to Scheifele. Despite being tripped up along the right boards, the center made a crafty pass from his knees and found Ehlers in the low slot for a 1 timer. The first 8 minutes of the final frame saw Winnipeg out-shoot Edmonton 8 to 5, but momentum started to shift after that. McDavid’s line was back in the offensive zone and Hellebuyck had to come up big a couple more times, but still needed Namestnikov to make a timely block (injured & didn’t return) to keep the Jets in the lead. Down a forward, the home squad was trying to hang on when a heart-breaking hiccup occurred for Hellebuyck on a long point shot by Nurse. The puck went through DeMelo’s legs high in the zone, but the Jets’ tender seemed to have his glove in the right place. Unfortunately, the puck rolled on up & over the wrist guard and into the net to tie the game with less than 7 minutes to play. After that point, the Oilers were on a full-court press and Hellebuyck returned to form by making a couple stellar saves. Winnipeg had a couple looks of their own, with Lowry’s line and a newly minted trio of Vilardi, Barron, & Iafallo spending time in Edmonton’s zone. A bit later Vilardi was called for holding Draisaitl during a battle for a rebound in front of Winnipeg’s goal, sending the Oilers to their 2nd powerplay of the game. Dillon was able to clear the puck early on, but McDavid & company were right back in the Jets’ end. With McDavid along the right mid-boards, he spotted Draisaitl in his down-low spot for a bad angle 1 timer that Hellebucyk couldn’t react in time to. The PP goal gave Edmonton the lead with just over 2 minutes to play and Winnipeg wasn’t really able to create any offense before the game was sealed with an empty-netter.
FINAL SCORE: EDMONTON OILERS 3 WINNIPEG JETS 1
SHOTS: EDMONTON OILERS 39 WINNIPEG JETS 26
- Had some computer issues this morning, which is why this article was posted so late. The rush has also limited my game thoughts…so apologies in advance.
- Personally, I think the Winnipeg Jets did a good job for 2.5 periods of limiting the Edmonton Oilers. Yes, they spent too much time in their own end, but the Oilers were kept to the perimeter and it doesn’t seem as chaotic as it did when the Jets were pinned in their end in previous seasons. They had plenty of chances to give Connor Hellebuyck a bigger cushion, then his one slip up wouldn’t have been such a dagger to the heart. 36 of 38 saved for a .947 save percentage is a darn good night’s work.
- When Adam Lowry (4) leads your team in shots, you probably didn’t have a great offensive game.
- Mark Scheifele was the best Jet at the face-off dot and he was 44%. The other main centers were winning less than 30% of their draws.
- The Winnipeg Jets fall to 6-5-1 at home this season, something they definitely need to improve on. They did have the arena filled to 91% capacity, but will need to figure a way to play a full 60 minutes before sell-outs become a regular thing again.
- MoneyPuck Stats: 70.8% Deserve to Win for the Oilers, 3.42 to 2.20 in expected goals (all situations) for the Oilers, and 2.83 to 1.39 in expected goals (5 on 5) for the Oilers.
Bah Humbug….that’s my final thought on last night’s game.
NEXT GAME: Chicago Blackhawks @ Winnipeg Jets – Saturday, December 2nd @ 2 pm Central
Maybe our team will find a way to beat the next Connor they have to play??? The Blackhawks could be just what the doctor ordered to end Winnipeg’s losing streak.