Today is a big day for me.
All my life I have been an Edmonton Oiler fan, and despite the many disappointments along the way, I am still faithful. Since the Jets have re-entered the league, they have been my second favourite beating out my previous second favourites; the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets (See how i’m a sucker for punishment).
The best part of tonight is that I actually get to watch the game and it will feature my two favourite teams.
The Jets (1-0-0) will hope to remain undefeated in the preseason while the Oilers (1-1-0) are looking to get back in the win column after splitting their opening nights with the Calgary Flames.
The Oilers and Jets seem to be starting a rivalry, and they had a few interesting scrums last season. One that included the Oilers’ Nail Yakupov getting into a spearing match with Zach Bogosian and Andrew Ladd. There’s some bad blood between these teams and it has lead to a better rivalry than what is now a weak excuse for a battle of Alberta. While a preseason brawl is unlikely for tonight, the teams should stir up a little bit of trouble in what will likely be a fast-paced high-scoring game.
The Jets will enter the game with a possible top line of NHLers on the Mark Scheifele line. After that, it’s a bunch of players competing for a roster spot. Adam Lowry has been turning heads, and in my roster hopefuls blog when he was omitted, a reader came to his defence.
If Patrice Cormier is able to snag the 4th line centre job (is Slater even healthy???) then you could be looking at the opening night’s 4th line with Tangradi and Peluso on the wings.
The defence core consists of three NHLers and three tweeners. Morrissey continues to get spotlight time, this time playing on the top pairing with wunderkid Jacob Trouba.
Michael Hutchinson played well in his first preseason game, and he gets the start tonight. He’ll be facing a better roster then the Minnesota Wild threw at him on Monday, and it will be fun to see how he attempts to save an Eberle wrist shot.
The Oilers will also employ an NHL quality top line with Jordan Eberle making his preseason debut. 3rd overall pick Leon Draisaitl continues to play alongside Benoit Pouliot and will see the camp standout Russian Tkachev on his right.
The Oilers defence group is a little inexperienced and that may be noticeable when Evander Kane makes the slow-footed defenders look like pylons, but the group should also be a threat to jump up in the play. Schultz, Gernat and Nurse both have offensive potential from the back end.
Laurent Brossoit starts the game for the Oilers with Ty Rimmer as his backup. It’s possible both see some time in the net, but neither is close to landing an NHL job.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The two teams exchange goals throughout the hockey game before the Oilers pull out two extra to win the game by a wild score of 6-4. Eberle and Kane are the stars for their respective teams.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Anthony Peluso drops the gloves in the first period and squares off against the Oilers’ Travis Ewanyk to set the tone of what’s to come for the teams meetings in the regular season. Peluso shows the kid that he needs to beef up a bit more to fight in this league.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Yakupov over-celebrates his second period goal leading Adam Pardy (who was burned on the play) to give the spunky Russian a shove as he skates by. This causes a stir during the next face-off in which Trouba takes after his former defence pairing’s spearing technique leading to another fun brawl.