The Oilers utilized good special teams play and a late penalty shot goal from Matt Hendricks to beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in pre-season play. Here are five things to take from the game.
1. SCHULTZ'S EDGE
Oilers defenceman Justin Schultz had a solid game for the blue and orange. Not only did he score the game’s opening goal, a power-play tally from the faceoff dot at 8:03 of the first, but he played with a little more of a physical presence.
In the first, Schultz stood up for his defensive partner Oscar Klefbom after he was knocked down by a big hit from JC Lipon. Without hesitation, Schultz jumped after the Jets forward.
“It happened so fast. I thought it was a little late, obviously. The whistle blew and then he hit him. He’s my d-partner so I thought I should stick up for him,” said Schultz.
A moment in the second period sticks out in my mind for Schultz as well. He was physical along the boards in a battle for the puck and it was noticeable. That’s something Schultz said he wanted to improve upon heading into this season.
Schultz finished as the game’s first star with a goal, three shots, two hits and a blocked shot in 24:11 of ice time, the most of any Oilers player.
2. REINHART STEADY
Griffin Reinhart will make it hard for the Oilers to send him to Bakersfield if he plays with the poise he displayed on Wednesday. The 21-year-old defenceman just looked comfortable for the majority of the game. He made good, smart plays with the puck and didn’t stick out in a negative way.
McLellan said he felt Reinhart was poised and doesn’t try for the home run. He hits singles.
Reinhart is locked in a battle for a roster spot. With only nine NHL games of experience (one in the playoffs), Reinhart needs to continue to look comfortable at this level if he wants to stick. Wednesday was a good showing.
Reinhart also showed his size and a bit of a physical presence with a nice check behind the net late in the third period.
Paired with Eric Gryba, Reinhart finished his night having played 18:37. He had two shots on goal, four hits and three blocked shots.
3. GOALIE WATCH
Cam Talbot got the nod in net against the Jets and started very strong. The Oilers goaltender made 16 saves in the first period and 24 by the end of two. Talbot had to be steady because Edmonton played down a man a lot due to penalties.
“A lot of the early saves, I think nine of them in the first period alone, came on the power play,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “He gave us a chance to be successful tonight and I thought he played very well.”
Talbot finished the game with 30 saves, allowing two goals in the win.
4. STRONG SPECIAL TEAMS
Special teams were a big reason for the Oilers win over the Jets. Edmonton finished 2-for-3 (67%) on the power play with goals from Justin Schultz and Jordan Eberle, both 10 seconds into the respective man advantages.
On the flip side, the Oilers killed off seven Jets power plays in the win.
“Power play looked like we had worked on it and we did. Penalty kill worked way too much tonight. Happy with the fact that we were able to kill but I’m looking at the game sheet and 13 and a half minutes of penalty kill is way too much. Too many penalties taken in areas that we don’t need to be taking them,” said McLellan.
Also on the penalty kill, Matt Hendricks was awarded a penalty shot when Adam Pardy hooked him on a breakaway. Hendricks’ goal on the penalty shot proved to be the game-winner.
5. 'THE PARALYZER' STRIKES AGAIN
When Matt Hendricks gets his chance in a shootout or penalty shot situation, he unleashes ‘The Paralyzer’. It’s Hendricks’ go-to move he uses to freeze the opposing goalie and dekes forehand to score the big goal. It’s a move he’s taken with him from city to city in his career and he used it again tonight for the Oilers, scoring on the penalty shot in the third to win Edmonton the game.
‘The Paralyzer’ claims another victim.