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Jets Drop Narrow Preseason Battle to Oilers in Edmonton

Photo by James Carey Lauder

Jets Drop Narrow Preseason Battle to Oilers in Edmonton

The Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers met for the second time in three nights, for another preseason battle, this time in Alberta. The game saw two distinctly different periods through the opening 40 minutes, before a back-and-forth shootout of a third saw Edmonton escape with a narrow 4-3 victory.

Kyle Connor opened the scoring very early for Winnipeg, potting his second of the preseason on a nice pass from Kristian Vesalainen. The goal came just 3:40 into the game, as Connor’s snap shot beat Mikko Koskinen cleanly glove side from close range.

Jumping ahead to a 15-8 shot advantage through the opening frame, Winnipeg let its guard down momentarily late in the period as Brenden Dillon received a cross checking call, giving Edmonton its second power play of the game. The ensuing power play put the Oilers on the board.

A long range Leon Draisaitl point shot was redirected perfectly by Jesse Puljujarvi, who caused some serious vision issues for Eric Comrie in the Jets’ goal. Scoring with 2:20 left in the opening frame, Puljujarvi’s marker took just 41 seconds of power play time to produce.

That goal helped shift the momentum Edmonton’s way, as the second period was all Oilers. Turning the tables to outshoot Winnipeg 13-8 in the frame, Edmonton was also the recipient of some solid goaltending.

A big stop from Koskinen on a wide-open net for the red-hot Jansen Harkins certainly helped the home team’s case. Puljujarvi and Devin Shore then scored goals just 1:40 apart in the middle stanza, giving Edmonton a 3-1 lead through 40 minutes of play.

First, defenceman Darnell Nurse teed up Brendan Perlini for a one-timer from the point. The shot found its way through Comrie thanks to a Devin Shore deflection from the top of the crease. The goal came with 7:14 to play.

Then, with 5:34 remaining in the period, the Oilers executed as perfect of an offensive zone entry as one could draw up, of course with help from captain McDavid. The breakout play went to the captain, who found Puljujarvi cross-ice. The big winger hammered a slap shot through Comrie, beating the young netminder low blocker side.

The Jets got one back with 8:24 to go in the third. Following a rather timid first half of the final frame, Nik Ehlers got the puck back to young defenceman Declan Chisholm, who set Mark Scheifele up with a no-doubter. Giving his centreman a perfectly placed back-door pass, Scheifele tapped the puck past Koskinen, bringing Winnipeg to within one goal.

Then it was Josh Morrissey’s time to catch Koskinen and the Oilers’ defence sleeping, as the Jets’ blueliner jumped up in the offensive zone, collected a centring pass from Evgeny Svechnikov and shovelled it into the Edmonton net, drawing an exhaustive gasp from the home crowd gathered at Rogers Place in his home province of Alberta. The goal came just 1:52 after the Scheifele marker.

But as if nothing had happened, Edmonton struck back once again with just 1:56 left on the clock.  Carrying the puck up ice, Draisaitl crossed the Jets’ blueline and drew two defencemen to himself. He then made an incredible backhanded cross-ice pass to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who redirected the puck past Comrie, for the late-period go-ahead marker.

Winnipeg pulled its netminder for the extra attacker, and despite some offensive zone control and scoring opportunities, the Oilers slammed the door on a third Jets goal in the final frame, winning it 4-3. Winnipeg outshot Edmonton 34-27 on the night, and will look to get back in the winner’s circle on Sunday, as the team travels to Vancouver for another exhibition matchup against the Canucks.

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, his favourite pastimes include camping, car-modification projects and coaching hockey. Carter can be reached at carterbrooks1994@gmail.com.

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