WINNIPEG - Six preseason games done, one to go.
Thursday night, a couple of Winnipeg Jet hopefuls made a case to be hanging around when the team opens the 2019-20 campaign in New York.
Tucker Poolman had a goal and an assist and Joona Luoto chipped in with a couple of assists in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Edmonton Oilers at Bell MTS Place.
Poolman has had a solid camp and has not shied away from throwing his body around and when necessary jump up in the play.
"He came to camp exceptionally fit so he could push through those days and still be noticeable," said Paul Maurice.
"He's had a really sold camp."C.J. Suess and Gabriel Bourque scored the other goals for the Jets who fell to 2-3-1 in the preseason. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 20 of the 25 shots he faced and took the loss in his second star..
"Not yet for the goalies," said Paul Maurice about if he's concerned about his number one goaltender.
"I'm not worried about it."
Even though Ville Heinola may be stealing a lot of the attention with his play, his countryman Luoto has done everything and more that has been asked of him.
"I am the kind of person who goes day by day, looking forward the next day or two days," said Luoto.
"I'm not looking forward to next week or two weeks ahead. What comes comes and I'm ready for it."
Video: POSTGAME | Joona Luoto
Hellebuyck looked ready two minutes in as Connor McDavid caught the Jets on a bad line change firing a low hard shot that the Jets netminder kicked out. McDavid hit the side of the net on the rebound with Mark Letestu putting pressure on the Oilers star.
The Jets opened the scoring at 10:07 on a play started by Neal Pionk who carried the puck from behind his net all the way to the Oilers blueline leaving it for Joona Luoto. The Finnish forward's cross ice pass was then knocked out of the air by C.J Suess and past Mike Smith for the 1-0 Winnipeg lead.
Video: EDM@WPG: Suess swats Luoto's pass into the net
Edmonton would get that goal back at 15:09, James Neal spotted a wide open Tomas Jurco in front of Hellebuyck and Jurco slapped it in to make it 1-1.
The Oilers would go to the power play early in the second period and they took all of 32 seconds to score on the man advantage. Connor McDavid found a loose puck in the slot and swept it into the open net for a 2-1 Edmonton lead.
Luoto recorded his second assist spotting Letestu breaking for the net on an odd man rush. Letestu took a backhand which was stopped by Smith and Tucker Poolman jumped in from the blueline pounced on the rebound and tied the game at two.
Video: EDM@WPG: Poolman tucks puck home in tight
"All camp you just try to come in and work hard every day and just control what you can control," said Poolman when asked if he thought he's done enough to stay in the NHL.
"I try not to think about that stuff."
Video: POSTGAME | Tucker Poolman
Some great work by Mathieu Perreault at 8:05 gave the Jets back the lead. Perreault took the puck away from Oilers defenceman Matt Benning and then hit Gabriel Bourque who made it 3-2.
Winnipeg took that lead into the final frame and that was where the visitors took it to the Jets outshooting them 15-3 and were outscored 3-0.
"We were ok with it through two periods. I liked what we had given up, I didn't think we had given up that much at all," said Maurice.
"But we kind of, we started going to our backhand in the neutral zone. We started to see if we could create something and they did the opposite. They went real simple and clean and started to shoot some pucks that caused a little more chaos for us. I didn't like our third at all."
The Jets lead lasted until the 5:26 mark of the third period. Leon Draisaitl's pass went off Hellebuyck's goal stick and Ethan Bear was there to make it 3-3.
Almost at the halfway mark of the third, Edmonton went to the power play with Jurco giving the Oilers a 4-3 advantage. Jurco took a pass from Draisaitl and went from his backhand to his forehand snapping a shot between Hellebuyck's blocker and his body.
An unfortunate bounce for the Jets made it 5-3 Edmonton at 14:16. Bear's point shot would hit Kristian Vesalainen's stick and beat Hellebuyck low to the glove side to close out the scoring.
The Jets will close out the preseason Sunday afternoon when they face the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul at 1 PM.