The Jets looked like the better team for the first 28 minutes, but went completely in the opposite direction the rest of the way in a 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
The team had a few defensive breakdowns that lead to Oiler goals, seeing Josh Morrissey and Jacob Trouba be victimized, while veterans Adam Pardy and Grant Clitsome did nothing to inspire confidence in their abilities to be solid NHL options this year.
While the Jets top line of Evander Kane, Mark Scheifele, and Blake Wheeler drove the play the majority of their ice time, they still were outplayed by the Oilers fourth-line prior to the first Oiler goal, which led to two more.
If that shift was the turning point, then there is cause for concern. The Jets didn’t generate a shot in the first 11 minutes in the 3rd period with a cold goalie in Ty Rimmer in net. That’s cause for concern. Rimmer played admirably and got lucky near the end of the game, but the Jets were still unable to claw back.
I tweeted a photo from my own personal account (@PotratzHockey) that showed my heart is with both of these teams. Here it is for your enjoyment!
WHAT I NOTICED
-The new top line consisting of Kane-Scheifele-Wheeler is without a doubt a solid combo. If the Jets stick with those guys together and the Ladd-Little-Byfuglien line stays together, then the Jets have two solid lines that can carry them to the playoff race. I know it’s preseason, but early chemistry is crucial.
–Nic Petan has crazy skill. If he was three inches taller and 20 pounds heavier then he would be in the NHL already. His skill is too good to not get a real shot in the years to come. Let him develop slowly though.
-Galiardi and Halischuk did enough to be recognized and the two are likely competing for the same roster spot. It’s obvious that the players like them with NHL experience are a ways ahead of the likes of Ehlers and Kosmachuk. After tonight’s game, i’d say Halischuk has the upper hand even though both players scored. Didn’t notice Galiardi at all after his goal.
–Michael Hutchinson is ready to be an NHL backup. He may not be ready to carry the load should Pavalec falter, but he is more than ready to be an NHL goalie. He was beat by a wicked wrister, a perfect two-on-one, and yet another defensive lapse. He was able to bounce back after each goal and nobody is pinning the loss on him.
-The defence looked lost at times, including veterans Adam Pardy and Grant Clitsome. That doesn’t bode well for the club going into the NHL regular season. Hopefully they were just a little rusty. On that note Melchiori belongs in the ECHL.
–Will O’Neill was a passing wizard. He played a solid game and was more effective then the rest of the “D” group combined. Didn’t notice him on any of the Oilers goals, but he did create a goal all on his own.
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, EDM
The Nuge had a slow first period, but he got the Oilers on the board and simply looked like a proven NHL player playing against a bunch of misfits. He had some good defensive moments and controlled the play in the final two periods.
2. Vladimir Tkachev, EDM
The tiny Russian pretty much wrote up his own NHL contract with his play in this game. He has a high-level IQ and has hands of pure gold. A few years of development and we could be looking at the Russian Martin St.Louis.
3. Matt Halischuk, WPG
Halischuk scored the second goal for the Jets, and had his fair share of chances for the rest of the game, as well as a smoked-post in the final five minutes. He’s fighting for his NHL life and he may have solidified his spot with this game. It’s still early, but he looks like he’s motivated.
The Jets will head to Minnesota for a rematch of their first preseason game on the 27th at 6 pm local time against the Wild. The Jets should make a few cuts before then, so there will be more of an NHL roster on both clubs.