NHL Hockey: Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets will try to end a three game home losing streak on Sunday but they’ve drawn a tough opponent as the Edmonton Oilers are in town. Winnipeg has been highly erratic all season and their current three game losing run began after a three game winning streak. The Edmonton Oilers, meanwhile, have done nothing but win this year. They’ve got one loss on the year and have now won two straight after opening the season with 5 straight wins.

Hard to figure why Winnipeg is favored here. The Jets are a woeful 1-3-0 on home ice and overall have a -6 differential. Edmonton has the second best record in the NHL one point behind scorching hot Colorado with 14 points. They’ve got a +11 differential and are 3-1-0 away from home. They’re scoring plenty of goals and are currently the #5 scoring offense in hockey putting up 3.75 per game. Unlike the Edmonton teams of recent vintage they’re also keeping their opponent off the board. The Oilers are in a 6th place tie on the NHL scoring defense table allowing just 2.50 goals per game. The +1.25 goals per game differential is the fourth best in the league.

Edmonton was expected to be a good defensive team this season and they haven’t disappointed. The Jets are the #25 scoring defense in hockey but their bigger problem is that they’re not scoring nearly enough goals to get away with that. The best way for the Jets to win this season is to force their opponents to play a ‘video game’ style. That’s not going to work if Winnipeg is the #17 scoring offense in hockey putting up a paltry 2.89 goals per game.

Of course that’s *really* not going to work here because there are few teams in the NHL you’d less want to get into an end to end offensive battle with than these Edmonton Oilers led by Connor McDavid aka the best hockey player on the planet and the resurgent James Neal who is the leading goal scorer in the league. Neal’s 9 goals are 3 more than he scored in Calgary all last season. 6 of Neal’s goals have come on the power play. It might be asking a lot for him to keep up this pace because he’s on a pace to score 92 goals and 62 power play goals.

Edmonton has a Tuesday game with lowly Minnesota on deck before returing home to face a couple of tough opponents in Washington and Florida. The Jets have dominated head to head play with the Oilers in recent years but have won only 2 of 3 at home. Besides, this Oilers’ team has a completely different mindset and looks downright scary.


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