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PRE-GAME REPORT: Oilers vs. Jets - Game 2

The Oilers seek a rebound versus the Winnipeg Jets as the Round 1 North Division series continues at Rogers Place

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

Oilers pre-game coverage is presented by SkipTheDishes

The Edmonton Oilers host the Winnipeg Jets in Game 2 Friday at Rogers Place.

You can watch the game on CBC & Sportsnet or listen on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Pre-Game 2 vs. WPG 05.21.21

INSIDE THE OILERS

News, notes and content from Thursday's skate at Rogers Place, including post-practice commentary from Leon Draisaitl, Adam Larsson, Alex Chiasson and Head Coach Dave Tippett.

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

EDMONTON, AB - One mistake, one break, one bounce. 

That's all it takes to determine the winner in a National Hockey League playoff tilt.

One Logan Stanley shot and one subsequent Dominic Toninato tip stole home-ice advantage for the Jets in Game 1.

"There's no reason to panic," Connor McDavid, who was held pointless in the series-opener after tallying seven goals and 15 assists in nine regular-season games versus the Jets, said. 

"This is obviously a big game for us tonight. A chance to even the series and move onto Winnipeg all tied up."

Winnipeg's plan was to offset the Oilers offence by taking space, limiting time and not allowing McDavid & Co. to free-wheel up ice. The visitors also blocked 19 shots and won 60 percent of the faceoffs, which helped push possession in their favour at times.

"They were kind of waiting for our mistakes," McDavid continued. "First and foremost, you don't want to give them that mistake. You don't want to turn pucks over but you still have to make plays, be creative and play your game."

OPEN UP

The Oilers ranked seventh in goals for (183) and goals for per game (3.27) during the regular season but Jesse Puljujärvi's first career post-season strike was all Edmonton could muster Wednesday night.

Video: PRE-RAW | Bear, Kulikov 05.21.21

At Thursday's practice, the Oilers worked on simplifying their attack. Many drills emphasized moving the puck from low to high in the O-zone, directing point shots on net and capping plays with "ugly" deflection, rebound or garbage goals. 

But Head Coach Dave Tippett will take them any way he can get.

"I want to be greedy; we want pretty goals and the ugly goals," the Oilers bench boss said. 

"Somebody wants to have a pretty goal, I'm good with that. Somebody wants to grind one in the net or deflect it in the net, I'm good with that, too."

McDavid could sense the choking style of play. With few scoring chances to go around, the Art Ross Trophy winner emphasized his club's effort in the attacking end. That includes the focus from Thursday: creating off the cycle, activating the blueline and crashing the crease for any loose change.

"They didn't give up many odd-man rushes, they didn't turn many pucks over, they kept the third guy high and limited our transition game," McDavid said. "In-zone, there are things we can do better and little adjustments we can make that will allow us to sustain a little bit more."

LINEUP NOTES

Tippett said he will be rolling with the same lineup as Wednesday but did not specify whether any modifications would be made to the forward combinations or defence pairings. 

And in goal, Mike Smith is expected to make his second consecutive start.

On the other side, Winnipeg centre Pierre-Luc Dubois is slated to return to the Jets lineup while Nikolaj Ehlers will remain sidelined, Head Coach Paul Maurice confirmed pre-game.

PREVIEW

OILERS (0-1) vs. JETS (1-0)

TV: 7:00 p.m. MT; Televised on CBC & Sportsnet

Oilers Team Scope

Jesse Puljujärvi scored his first career playoff goal and Mike Smith made 18 saves but the Oilers were defeated 4-1 in the opening match of their seven-game series with the Winnipeg Jets.

The club held a brisk on-ice session Thursday to reassemble before Game 2. Wednesday's contest featured little time or space, stingy checking and few prime scoring chances. Now that the Orange & Blue have a good grasp of what the North Division set will look like, they know what to expect on Friday.

"It was a low-event game other than the guy sitting upstairs with his finger on the 'hit' button," Head Coach Dave Tippett, referring to the 118 checks registered by NHL officials in Game 1, said.

"Other than that, it was a cautious game by both teams." 

Jets Team Scope

Winnipeg forward Dominic Toninato tipped in the game-winning marker at 9:14 of the third period and Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves as the Jets stole Game 1.

Captain Blake Wheeler (1G, 1A), winger Kyle Connor (1G, 1A), centre Mark Scheifele (2A) and Nate Thompson (2A) all recorded multi-point performances in the winning outcome. 

Jets middleman Pierre-Luc Dubois was in a regular practice jersey at Thursday's practice but Nikolaj Ehlers remained in a non-contact yellow sweater. "Two more days have been really, really good for both of them," Jets Head Coach Paul Maurice said. "But, it's premature for me to put them in tomorrow, as of what I know today."

Video: PRE-RAW | McDavid, Archibald 05.21.21

Head-to-Head:

McDavid registered a point in every game against Winnipeg during the regular season, notching seven goals and 15 assists in nine outings. The Oilers Captain has 10 goals and 41 points in 23 career regular-season encounters with the Jets. Draisaitl also scored seven goals and added five helpers for 12 points during the season and has 15 goals, 15 assists and 30 points in 25 career games.

Scheifele is up to nine goals and 19 points all-time versus the Oilers in the regular season while captain Blake Wheeler has eight goals and 28 points in 33 games. Hellebuyck is 9-10-1 in his career against EDM, holding a .893 S% and 3.35 GAA.

By the Numbers:

Connor McDavid & Leon Draisaitl were held off the scoresheet in the same game for the ninth time in 57 matches this year. ... The Oilers earned just two winning results in those nine games. ... Puljujärvi became the 13th Oilers player to notch his first career playoff goal in his first playoff game. ... Tyson Barrie logged a game-high 25:50 of ice time in Wednesday's opener. ... 

The Jets went 60 percent in the faceoff circle in Game 1. ... Scheifele had two assists Wednesday and leads the franchise with 12 multi-point playoff outings. ... Winnipeg's 6-foot-7, 228-pound defenceman Logan Stanley was credited with eight hits, which was the most of any skater in the game. ... Stanley also had a game-high four blocked shots.

Injury Report:

OILERS - Kris Russell (lower body) is day-to-day; Oscar Klefbom (shoulder) is on LTIR.

JETS - Nikolaj Ehlers (upper body) is day-to-day; Pierre-Luc Dubois (undisclosed) is day-to-day; Nathan Beaulieu (hand) is on IR.

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