One number change for the Oilers worth noting. Mark Arcobello will wear number 26 instead of 62 that he wore all pre-season. Call it a flip instead of a switch perhaps.
Up front, the Oilers lines are exactly as we thought they would be last week aside from the addition of Luke Gazdic on the fourth line. If this game gets tight in the late stages, look for Gordon to be out taking the key draws on the Eberle and Perron line if Arcobello struggles like he did during the exhibition games.
On the back end the pairings are also following the projections we put together last week with the exception of Philip Larsen being sent down. Belov was expected to start and with Denis Grebeshkov getting closer to a return, it’ll be interesting to see how the Oilers handle their plethora of NHL ready defenseman.
No surprise in goal to see Devan Dubnyk starting. This is his team to carry or drop and many believe this will be his final chance to prove he’s a legitimate number one netminder in this league.
As mentioned, the Jets are once again back in the Western Conference meaning Oilers’ fans will see a lot more of them then they did over the last two years when they played out of the east. This is a difficult team to gauge this year after falling just short of a playoff bid last season.
Youngsters Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba are two names to watch for the Jets this season. Trouba was selected 9th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft while Scheifele looks to stick with the big club after failing to do so the last two years.
Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien are once again the go-to players on this Jets club with Ondrej Pavelec arguably being the team’s MVP last season. If this team is to have any hope at a playoff spot, the aforementioned three must stay healthy and produce to the highest levels they can. If not, it could be a long year in Winnipeg. You can view the Jets lineup here.
Oil on Whyte Prediction: Oilers 4 Jets 2