The Edmonton Oilers have for another season seemed to have flushed potential down the toilet and are sitting right near the bottom of the Western Conference, and in the discussion for another number one pick. They have lost nearly double the games they have won, and if you add in overtime losses it is two and a half times the number of wins they have. Where the Oilers keep going wrong is the million dollar question, they have gone through many coaches and executives who have tried to solve the riddle, but so far they have not had any success. Though the season is again a write off, the players continue to go out and play, and they have been a little hot recently, going 2-0-2 in their last 4 games. This has been largely on the backs of their first line, which has been very hot recently. Jordan Eberle is the leader, currently on a seven game point streak, and his linemates, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, and Benoit Pouliot, eace are on five game point streaks. The Oilers still have all the skill they need, if they can just put it together they will win games.
Four straight wins, including a sweep of a 3 game home stand could not have come at a better time for the Winnipeg Jets. They have strengthened their position in the playoff push, and now hold their destiny in their own hands. Things do not get easier for the Jets however as they now play a back to back in Edmonton and Vancouver Monday and Tuesday night before returning home for 3 very tough games against some of the NHL’s best. Perhaps the most amazing part of this hot streak for the Jets has been who they have done this without. The Jets have been without Byfuglien and Little for the last seven games, and Mathieu Perreault continues to miss games. All their status’ are still unknown, both Little and Byfuglien practiced with the team at some point last week, but in coach Paul Maurice’s words, their recovery then plateaued. Maurice will update the public on the status of these injured players Monday morning and then we will have a better idea of what the lineup will look like moving forward. Until then the roster has done its job and the Jets will continue to count on them to get wins.
Goaltending: Ondrej Pavelec has now started, and won, four games in a row. He has stopped 113 of 117 shots in that time. His numbers have rocketed and are now very similar to those of Michael Hutchinson. It is expected the two goaltenders will split starts the next two nights and it will be interesting to see which goalie gets which game. I expect Hutch to start Monday against Edmonton, and then Pavelec to get in against a team deep in the race against Winnipeg, the Vancouver Canucks.
Attack: For years now the real weakness of this Edmonton Oilers team has been their Defense and goaltending. The Winnipeg Jets may be able to exploit this weakness with their full out attack. The Jets can generate offense with all four lines and get a lot of production from their back end. The Jets need to continue to play smart on defense, but also attack the Oilers at their weakness.
Scoreboard Watching: Winnipeg did their job Saturday night with a 3-0 shut out win over the Capitals. They did not get all the losses on the out of town scoreboard that they would have liked but they did get some help. Winnipeg is 4 points up on the LA Kings for the final playoff spot. They are also two points ahead of Calgary and tied with the Canucks, while still 1 point behind Minnesota. Calgary, LA and Minnesota are all in action as well Monday night, while the Canucks are in action at the time of publication against the Arizona Coyotes.
Michael Hutchinson (20-9-5) GAA: 2.41 SV% .913
Ben Scrivens (14-22-10) GAA: 2.97 SV% .896
Clitsome, WPG, (Back) out for season
Perreault, WPG, (LBI) out
Byfuglien, WPG, (UBI) day-to-day
Little, WPG, (Undisclosed) out
Chiarot, WPG, (Broken Hand) out
Postma, WPG, (LBI) day-to-day
Fraser, EDM, (Concussion) day-to-day
Pakarinen, EDM, (Knee) day-to-day
Fasth, EDM, (Knee) out
Pitlick, EDM, (Lacerated Spleen) out
Jets keep it rolling, dominate the Oilers
Jets 4 Oilers 1
Become an MVP with Winnipeg Whiteout and never miss a thing.