The Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers are heading in different directions now at a very important point in the season — coming out of the NHL trade deadline.
It was clear on Friday in Edmonton which team was going up and which was going down. The Oilers shelled the Jets 6-3 in a game that saw 12 penalties called between the Canadian rivals. Winnipeg was called for nine of them.
“I’ve never coached a team, I don’t think, that was so undisciplined and took so many penalties. You play a third of the game shorthanded against that team, they’re going to make you look bad and they made us look bad,” said Jets head coach Rick Bowness after the game.
“When you get outworked like we did and you don’t pay attention to details and don’t compete hard enough, you end up looking back and we looked bad.”
The Jets will need to go back to square one for the second half of this home-at-home back-to-back against the Oilers, when the series shifts to Winnipeg for Saturday night.
“Overall, it wasn’t a good game for us,” said Jets forward Axel Jonsson-Fjallby. “They have great players. We have great players too. We can put up a better fight than this and beat them.”
With one win in their last eight games, Winnipeg is still searching for answers. The Jets, slow at the deadline, picked up a single forward from San Jose, Vladislav Namestnikov. He’s unlikely to make his debut on Saturday night after not skating for the last few days.
Winnipeg should be able to welcome back center Pierre-Luc Dubois to the lineup for Saturday, as he’s day-to-day with a lower body injury. Injured winger Mason Appleton could return for Monday.
The Oilers offense continued to roll. Having notched 42 goals total over their last nine games, the team has picked up four or more for the eighth time during that span.
“I thought our effort was great,” said Edmonton head coach Jay Woodcroft. “Our work rate was where it needed to be. The ability to draw as many penalties as we did was a credit to the way we were skating tonight. We built a big lead and were able to get the win.”
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will look to build on a two-goal, two assist performance at Rogers Place.
“I want to be involved every night in any way I can be in a positive way, whatever that role looks like,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “I thought it was a pretty solid 60 minutes for us.”
Edmonton won’t be expecting the return of forward Evander Kane or defenseman Ryan Murray for another week or so. Nick Bjugstad could make his debut with the Oilers after being acquired on Thursday.
–Field Level Media