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Jets drop preseason opener

Maurice: "Both teams are looking to become better defensive clubs."

by Jamie Thomas @JamieThomasTV / Winnipeg Jets

EDMONTON AB - On a night where Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl did not take part it wasn't a surprise that the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers preseason opener was of the low scoring variety.

The Jets fired 25 shots on the night but could not get one past Oilers netminders Dylan Wells and Stuart Skinner falling 2-0 Monday at Rogers Place.

"There wasn't a lot of flow to that game and I think that was by design. Both teams are looking to become better defensive hockey clubs so there wasn't a lot of plays up and down the ice at all" said Maurice.

"(There) wasn't a lot of shots from the slot. They covered it off pretty good. We gave a little more from their blueline than we would like, but a good grinder."

After fitness testing and long, hard practices over the first three days of training camp it was nice to finally start playing games for players like Tucker Poolman.

"It's always great to get out there and play a hockey game," said Poolman.

"Get through those first two days of drills and conditioning skate so it felt good to get out there."

It was the first NHL game for Russian forward Andrei Chibisov and another chance for Joona Luoto and David Gustafsson to adapt to the North American game. Luoto and Gustafsson both played three games for the Jets at the Rookie Showcase tournament in Belleville, Ontario earlier this month.

"Of course having those games at the beginning of the season and having three games before this one," said Luoto who had four shots on the night.

"It's always going to be better."

Maurice liked the young Finns play as well.

"I think we've known right from the time we got him. We think we have a really good character guy here," said Maurice of Luoto.

"Gritty player - maybe a better way to put that, he's got good character. He's got some bite to his game and then enough hands that we think we are going to have a guy that might be able to play up the lineup."

Edmonton native Eric Comrie got the start in goal for the Jets and he was tested about halfway through the first period. He denied Alex Chiasson on a in tight chance from the slot at 10:13 to keep the game scoreless with his best save of the opening 20 minutes.

"I wanted to play the puck (behind the net). The puck never came to me so it was hard," said Comrie who made 31 saves.

"I couldn't actually play it or else I would have got a penalty and then when it went out to the front I just tried to get set and get to the middle of my crease as quick as I could. Puck hit me and I got the whistle."

The home team would get on the board first though at 15:48. Defenceman Joel Persson fired a shot from the point that hit teammate James Neal in the shin pad, he promptly spun and fired a shot that went off far post and in for 1-0 Oilers lead.

After a pretty quiet second period chance wise, the Oilers added to their lead when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins jumped on a rebound from an Oscar Klefbom shot and his backhand eluded Comrie. That goal came with just 15 seconds left on the clock and Edmonton went into the second intermission up 2-0.

The Jets couldn't muster much in the third period firing just five shots at the Oilers net even with a late power play.

"Obviously if we didn't shoot in the third period, of course it's our fault," said Luoto.

"We have to do something better to shoot and score."

Winnipeg returns to action on Wednesday at Bell MTS Place when they welcome the Minnesota Wild to Manitoba.

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