Finally, the NHL’s regular season gets underway tonight at Rexall Place when the Edmonton Oilers welcome the visiting Winnipeg Jets for game 1 of 82. No more speculating and analyzing the roster moves, wondering who will play where and if a trade is in the works. Now everyone can look forward to game days and live Oilers hockey and it all kicks off tonight.
The Oilers and Jets met twice during the pre-season and after splitting the pair of games it could be said that Edmonton was the better team. But that was the exhibition slate and with an irregular lineup for games that don’t mean jack in the standings, tonight will have a different feel and a truly different Jets team coming to play.
The Jets are entering their first season in the Western Conference since the team relocated from Atlanta three years ago. Gone for them are the dreadful road trips to Florida and the East coast that will be replaced by divisional games against the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild.
For the Oilers, they enter this season with new divisional foes in the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks while the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames are once again grouped with Edmonton.
Changes were made at all levels within the Oilers organization and tonight will mark the first official game for new bench boss Dallas Eakins. The new coach was responsible for a few roster moves along with his creative line combinations that have left many wondering if what he’s put together can work. Let’s take a look at those lines for tonight’s game, courtesy of the Oilers official website.