The Oilers is on their way to Winnipeg, who runs a four-winning strike, which is so far the longest of the season. Here are your game days notes.
First The last time Oilers played the jets, they had a wild travel schedule involving those flying from Boston to Edmonton, then from Edmonton to Fargo, North Dakota, before driving to Winnipeg because Winnipeg does not have an airport. Instead of going through the duty three times in a 24-hour thrill, Oilers decided to fly over Winnipeg and the parachute into the city this time.
2nd Oiler's last game against jets represented a spark and a turning point in the team's early season. The Oilers were 1-2 with back-to-back losses to kick off the season and a rather ugly victory over Rangers. They were down 4-1 on their way into the third period, but Connor McDavid hit them back for an overtime. The win looked like a turning point when Oilers wanted to go 6-3-1 over their next 10 games, but then a row of six losses in seven games eventually cost Todd McLellan his job.
Third Since hiring Ken Hitchcock is Oilers 8-2-1. One of these losses came in overtime when Edmonton blasted a lead against Anaheim with a few seconds left, and one of them came when Connor McDavid had flu and did not play in Dallas. Only three times in Hitchcock's term of office, Oilers has allowed more than three goals in a game. One was against the kings and two of the five scored were in a blank net, one against the stars in the above game where McDavid did not play and one was Tuesday's victory in Colorado when Avs scored two late goals in one game, That was already out of hand.
4th Of course, much of this is rooted in overall team improvement and commitment to the defense, but Edmonton's goalkeeping has been almost outstanding during Hitchcock. Cam Talbot has a .925 saving percent in three games in the Hitchcock era while Mikko Koskinen has a .936 save percent in eight games.
5th The Jets own a comparatively similar 7-3 record for Oilers in their last 10 games. They are currently running a two-winning strike with great victories over Flyers and Blackhawks, where they combined to score 13 goals. Jets has been shockingly consistent throughout the season. Only once they have lost back-to-back games. It came back in late November when they lost to Calgary and Minnesota. Otherwise, jets do not have a lost knit this season.
6th While jets have had a strong start to the year, there is no doubt that their schedule has made life easy on them. They have played a third of their game against bottom-dwelling teams like St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey and Philadelphia. In these games they are 9-1. In their other 20 games against non-terrible teams they are 10-8-2, which is far from bad, but neither is it excellent.
7th A key to Winnipeg's ability to win well and ultimately take the lead to Stanley Cup candidate will be played by Connor Hellebuyck. He had a bad start to the season, but has improved so late. He owns a .946 save percent in December, in four starts, which is a massive improvement of .904 save percent he had in 19 starts before that. Jets need December Hellebuyck to be Hellebuyck, they see the rest of the season.
8th Jetsne also boasts very offensive firepower. They place fifth in the league with 107 goals through the 30 game game. Much of it comes down to a dominant power play that has scored 30.3 percent of the chances so far this season. Patrik Laine has 10 of his 21 goals this season on the man's favor and resembles a young Alex Ovechkin who awaits the top of the circles for a one-timer.
9th Last game, Oilers gave the league's second best (behind Winnipeg only) power play six different options, but managed to kill five of them. Avs could not convert into what was an inconsistent special team matchup between an elite power play and a mediocre punishment. If you play with fire enough, you will be burned. It would be best if Oilers could limit their time to the jets.
10th When I talk about Laine, I wonder what kind of contract he ends signing this low season. This summer's batch of limited free-goers is an interesting one. We only hear about Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, but Matt Tkachuk is probably Calgary's best player, Laine, who might be the league's best score, and Mikko Rantanen, who could win Art Ross this year. Laine is at a pace for 57 goals and a $ 10 million post-ELC deal is not out of the question.
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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 12/13/2018 – 8:00 MT