by Lisa McRitchie on 02/28/12 at 04:45 AM ET
Oilers beat Jets 5-3
This was the Edmonton Oilers’ first trip to Winnipeg in 16 years, but it’s funny how some things remain the same. While the Jets put up a good fight, the Oilers saw scoring from all positions and made this look like an easy two points.
There was also an unexpected Finn who earned what looked to be an easy two points; Lennart Petrell. Petrell has never had a muti-point game in the NHL but in Winnipeg where they once loved another Finnish player, Lenny would blossom.
It was all about power play goals through sixty minutes of play. Of the 8 goals scored, four were scored on the power play.
Kyle Wellwood scored on a Taylor Hall penalty, but that was soon answered by Ryan Whitney on an Evander Kane penalty. The Jets would make it seem as though they had this game under control as Alexander Burmistrov scored the game’s first even strength goal.
The third period had power play goals by Ryan Jones, Nik Antropove and even strength goals by Lennart Petrell, Taylor Hall and of course Jordan Eberle. Why pay for a full game when you’ll only want the third? There is no way that the loud and excited crowd was going anywhere though. After seeing their team go, fighting to get one back and now watching the team improve by leaps and bounds, the Winnipeg Jets could be making their first playoff run of the modern era.
Nikolai Khabibulin has still not been cleared to play following his groin injury, so this was another outing for Devan Dubnyk and the jury is still out on what Dubnyk can do long term. With this number of games, and with this team in front of him, it is difficult to say where Dubnyk will fit into the long term plans for the team. For this game, he looked alright.
Jeff Petry is playing bigger minutes than he would have had he been developed by another team, but he is treading water, and keeping his head up. Petry did have a major error leading to a goal, but that is a lesson you tend to remember and hopefully learn from. It’s not as though he makes these mistakes game in and game out. He must also be feeling a lot of pressure and scrutiny with the Tom Gilbert trade earlier in the day.
While Ryan Smyth may not be the team’s leading scorer any longer, he does now have 800 career points with his assist on Jordan Eberle’s goal. Smyth may be in the twilight of his career, but he can still put up the numbers, and has been an excellent addition to the team in the off-season. Through the year, Smyth has been helping the young stars learns how to be professionals both on and off of the ice.
Ryan Jones had been a healthy scratch for the past three games, in an attempt to send a message to the winger that he needs to play a more physical and spirited game. That seemed to be the description of Jones’ game before being scratched, but sitting in the pressbox certainly spurred Jones on to have an excellent showing against the Jets. Jones’ goal gives him 14 on the year and as pointed out by Jason Gregor “Ryan Jones has same amount of goals, 14, as Joe Thornton, Mike Richards, Mike Cammalleri and Patrick Kane.” There is still a chance Jones could hit 20 before the end of the season.
The Oilers only managed 25 shots, but since 20 went past Ondrej Pavelec, that was enough. Especially when Taylor Hall had a two point night, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added another assist to his point totals and even Devan Dubnyk earned his first NHL assist. I meant it when I said that scoring came from all positions on the Oilers’ roster.
This was the only meeting between the two teams, and because the re-alignement proposed was shot down, it doesn’t appear as though it will be different next year. And so, the excitement between these two meetings will not go away, and will continue to grow.
The other side
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
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