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Jets Shut Out by McDavid-less Oilers in First Preseason Matchup

Jets Shut Out by McDavid-less Oilers in First Preseason Matchup

On Sunday evening, the Winnipeg Jets made their long-awaited return to the ice for the first time since bowing out of a disappointing 2021-22 season in a ‘nothing game’ victory over the Seattle Kraken.

It wasn’t much of a showing, however, as Winnipeg was shut out 4-0 at Rogers Place against a very AHL-looking Edmonton Oilers squad. Much like the Jets, Edmonton did not dress many of its stars, including that of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

The Jets were without Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor on the night.

And it really didn’t take long for Edmonton to strike. With offseason addition David Rittich starting between the pipes for Winnipeg on Sunday, the new backstop pulled out his best Connor Hellebuyck impression, giving up a goal on the Oilers’ very first shot of the game.

Just 41 seconds in, Jesse Puljujarvi outmuscled the Jets’ defence, taking the puck in the offensive zone and helping cycle it back to the point. A shot from Markus Niemelainen found its way through a crowd and beat Rittich squarely, giving Edmonton a very early 1-0 lead.

Much like that of the Jets, the TSN broadcast crew was also slacking, as it took until the 16-minute mark for the tech crew to display the shot chart in the first period.

The same could not be said of new play-by-play commentator Dan Robertson, who made his debut at Jets on TSN after eight seasons calling play-by-play on the radio for TSN 690 in Montreal. He introduced himself, with neither TSN nor the Jets formally announcing Dennis Beyak’s replacement prior to puck drop. His debut on screen came without any major blimp in the radar.

The Jets, unfortunately, could not give Robertson a ‘W’ in his first game with the team, ultimately falling 4-0 to Edmonton, in what truly felt like a one-goal game.

A snooze-fest, but a game, at that.

Winnipeg’s best chance of the opening period came on a three-on-two up ice featuring newcomers Kevin Stenlund and Saku Maenalanen alongside Pierre-Luc Dubois. The scoring opportunity did not pan out, as Stuart Skinner turned aside the Jets’ top scorer.

The Jets and Oilers both put up 13 shots in the opening frame, with Edmonton owning the only goal – that off the stick of Niemelainen.

The middle frame was highlighted by a goaltender chance by the Oilers, which swapped Skinner out for Winnipegger Calvin Pickard with roughly six minutes left in the frame.

Winnipeg did have a five-on-three in the middle stanza, to which the unit of Cole Perfetti, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Kristian Reichel, Kevin Stenlund and Kyle Copabianco worked the majority of the man advantage. No goals came of any of Winnipeg’s four power plays on the night, much like that of Edmonton’s three power plays.

The second period ended with the Jets owning a 20-18 shot advantage, before Edmonton regained its scoring tough in the final frame.

First, it was defenceman Leon Gawanke, who wiped out trying to control the puck, lost the disc and watched as James Hamblin gave the home team a 2-0 lead on a rebound shot off Jason Demers with 9:38 left to play.

Then, Ryan McLeod, fresh off his one-year, 798K deal got by his man and beat a David Rittich clearing attempt and pokes it into the net, making it 3-0 with 5:36 remaining. 27 seconds later Evan Bouchard put a point shot off the stick of Dominic Toninato and into the net, sealing the deal for Edmonton on a 4-0 shutout victory.

The Jets actually outshot the Oilers 29-26 on the night, but were unable to solve either Skinner or Pickard in the process. Next up for Winnipeg will be a home test against the new-look Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM central time at Canada Life Centre. The game can be viewed live on TSN.

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 or on Twitter at @GameOnHockey.

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