Travel-weary Oilers head to Winnipeg next to face Jets
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The Edmonton Oilers are giving new meaning to the term “road warriors.”
After opening the season in Sweden against New Jersey before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to play the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers — not to mention finishing their pre-season with a game in Germany — the Oilers will wrap up their longest road trip in franchise history, distance-wise, with a tilt against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night. Prior to flying into town on Tuesday morning, the Oilers have flown a total of nearly 11,000 miles.
Even though they defeated the Rangers 2-1 on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, the Oilers have scored just five goals thus far this season and captain Connor McDavid, who has led the league in points each of the past two seasons, has figured in on all of them.
“We’ve only scored five goals in three games. When offence isn’t there, you need to check. I thought we did a great job finally getting a win in a tough building,” McDavid said. “It wasn’t the prettiest way to win a game but we needed to win a game.”
The Jets, meanwhile, are hoping to avoid their giveaway-prone performance against Carolina on Sunday night, a game that they managed to win 3-1 despite leaving backup goalie Laurent Brossoit high and dry for extended periods and being outshot 18-6 in the first period and 43-25 overall.
It was Brossoit’s first win as a member of the Jets after spending parts of four seasons with the Oilers. (He won’t get the chance to start against his old mates as coach Paul Maurice has given the crease to Connor Hellebuyck.)
The good news for the Jets was their No. 2 line may be starting to get on track. Center Bryan Little scored the winner with his first of the season with just a couple of minutes left on the clock on Sunday while his right winger, Patrik Laine, scored his second of the campaign on the power play to open the scoring.
Jets captain Blake Wheeler said there was no panic in the Jets dressing room after the second period of the still-scoreless game.
“There was no coming to Jesus speech, we didn’t need to reinvent the wheel,” he told The Winnipeg Sun. “There’s an element of patience and being positive five games into the season that you know you just stay with it and find a way to get two points. (Monday) we’ll try to get better (in practice). Hopefully, the next game will be quicker.”
The Jets will have one less player in the press box after forward Marko Dano, who was acquired a couple of years ago from Chicago in exchange for captain Andrew Ladd, was picked up on waivers by Colorado on Monday morning. The first round pick in 2013 hadn’t played for the Jets this season. He scored 10 goals over parts of three seasons for the Jets.