Edmonton Oilers: One area of play will be key against Winnipeg Jets

(Photo by David Lipnowski/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Lipnowski/Getty Images) /

Entering the final game of their five-game road trip, the Edmonton Oilers will look to finish with a positive record after splitting the first two games. The Oilers lost a lackluster effort in Detroit to kick off the trip but followed with a big win in Boston two days later.

The following night, the Buffalo Sabres knocked off the Oilers, but Edmonton followed the trend, topping St. Louis on Sunday.

Now, the Oilers will make their first trip back to where their 2021 season ended in Winnipeg. The Jets are off to a respectable start, carrying an 8-3-3 record into this matchup after topping the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in overtime on Saturday.

Like the Oilers, the Jets have been potent offensively, averaging 3.21 goals per game, good for ninth-best in the National Hockey League. Defensively, they have a leg up on the Oilers, averaging 2.64 goals allowed per game, compared to Edmonton’s 3.00.

The Oilers have, in large part, been forced to outscore their opponents, most recently taking a 4-2 lead into the third period against St. Louis, only to see it evaporate. Kailer Yamamoto made sure the blue-and-orange would secure a win in regulation, scoring with 28 seconds remaining.

“We’ve had some come-from-behind wins, but you don’t want to make that a habit of having to do that each and every night,” defenseman Darnell Nurse said before the Boston game.

From top to bottom, the Jets are a well-balanced team, with Kyle Connor pacing all skaters with 19 points. On his tail, Andrew Copp has 15 points, Pierre Luc-Dubois has 14, and three players have ten.

In their first visit to where their last season ended, the Edmonton Oilers’ powerplay will be key against the Winnipeg Jets.

It will be a good matchup for Dave Tippett’s group, but they will have to make the most out of their powerplays. The Oilers have been red-hot on the man advantage, converting at just under 42 percent on the year.

On the flip side, Winnipeg has not been good on the penalty kill at 65.8 percent, the third-worst mark in the league.

“Seems like we’re a bit disconnected…maybe on the kill specifically,” Jets forward Andrew Copp said. “Maybe our forwards and D are just a little too far apart, a little disconnected in the way we’re going.”

The duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl has been deadly, accounting for a combined 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) on the man advantage.

On several occasions this year, McDavid has attracted much of the attention in the o-zone, leaving Draistail wide-open for one-timers on the right side.

The Oilers will need to have continued success on the man advantage to come away with a winning record on the road trip.

“I think they’re maturing as people,” said former Oilers’ forward Sam Gagner. “They’re growing as leaders. I noticed that in the time I was there. They continue to get better in those areas.

“I think they find little intricacies in their game too that can make them better. A lot has been talked about how much better Connor has gotten defensively, and that’s a conscious decision he’s made to work on his game in those different areas. And [Draisaitl] as well. I mean, they’re both always looking at ways to get better. They’re constantly trying to improve.”

The Edmonton Oilers and Jets get underway on Tuesday, with puck drop set for 6 pm MT.