Game two of the Winnipeg Jets Western Canada road trip sees a stop in Edmonton tonight as they will play the Oilers.
If it’s not bad enough that the Jets have given up 13 goals in the first 2 games of the season and are racing to figure out how to stem that tide, the club will also have to contend with what will probably be an ornery Oilers club that got stung for a loss in Vancouver on Saturday night. Oiler fans and media alike are considering the loss “a wake up call” of sorts for the team.
Just what the Jets need right now.. An extra motivated Oilers club with a Connor McDavid probably annoyed that he isn’t leading the league in everything yet.
Here are some other things to watch for as you try not to pass out from all that turkey you ate earlier in the day…
How Many Will McDavid Get?
Fun fact: Connor McDavid has yet to ever score a regular season goal against the Jets. In five career games played against Winnipeg, McDavid only has five assists, so the doom and gloom Jets fans have felt leading up to tonight’s game may not be as big a concern as one would think, but you also have to think he’s due for a goal or three, given the state of the Jets defense right now and considering McDavid has seemed to have found an even higher level of play to start the season.
Hellebuyck Gets The Nod
It’s not very surprising that Paul Maurice is going to go with Connor Hellebuyck tonight given the trial by fire Steve Mason had to endure the first two games. The goaltending switch does have slight hints of desperation behind it as the club looks to figure out how it can keep an opponent to under six goals a game. The move is certainly not being made because Connor has great career numbers against the Oilers. In fact his career record is 0-4-0 with a .857 save percentage.
The Jet Killer.. Mark Letestu?
You know all those goals that Connor McDavid hasn’t been scoring against the Jets? Chances are Mark Letestu has taken them all. In 15 career games against the Jets, the bottom six forward has 9 goals and 2 assists. His shooting percentage against Winnipeg is also a ridiculous 45%, so at some point his run of good fortune against the Jets has to run out.. right?
What The Other Side Is Saying:
In their Monday Mailbag, Jason Gregor of OilersNation would like to point out that the Oilers are more than just McDavid and a bunch of offence:
The Oilers team defence. They were very organized, had close support all over the ice and gave up very few chances. It shows the benefits of having the same head coach and the majority of the same players playing the same system. Continuity is a major advantage. It also allowed them to work on new things in practice. I noticed three set offensive zone plays specifically designed off of winning faceoffs and engaging the D-men to come down off the point and into the slot.
It won’t take much for the Jets to play their best game of the season so far considering what they did in the first two, but that’s what we’ll get tonight from them. One way or another Paul Maurice seems determined to drag 2-1 wins out of a club that likely could win a few offensive shootouts if the right system was in place and the right lines used… The Oilers will win 4-2, but at least that goals against count will still be trending in the right direction.. Right?