NFL football might dominate attention from sports fans on Sunday, but the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets provide what should be an exciting game on the ice in Manitoba. The Oilers have been the most surprising team to open the season, as they put a record of 7-1-0 on the line tonight against the Jets. Their most recent victory was a 2-1 win on Friday night over the Detroit Red Wings.
I was on the puckline in that one and lost in the worst way possible. The Oilers had a wide open net with Jonathan Bernier pulled and they hit the post, then whiffed on the rebound a few feet in front of the empty cage. Frustrating for sure, but bad beats are to be expected if you bet enough.
The Oilers move onto Sunday evening where they will be searching for their third straight win and eighth win on the season. Their only defeat came against the Blackhawks in Chicago by a score of 3-1. They responded to that loss with wins over the Flyers and Red Wings. Their start has been a pleasant surprise in Edmonton, and none other than James Neal is ecstatic about how things are going in Edmonton.
Neal scored another goal on Friday, as he brought his total up to 9 on the season. With 6 goals after playing a full season for the Flames, he’s only 3 goals away from doubling up. His play has obviously helped save his career and it has helped catapult the Oilers to new heights in 2019-20. At least so far this season. It’s important not to get too high or low on teams this year on, but I like what I’ve seen from the Oilers. Get our free Oilers vs. Jets pick on Sunday in the NHL below.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Winnipeg Jets Pick
James Neal dropped off so fast from the Vegas Golden Knights to the Calgary Flames that something had to be going on. Something going on that had nothing to do with his skillset, because he was one of the big reasons why the Golden Knights went to the Stanley Cup Final as an expansion team. It could have very well just been that he didn’t gel well with the rest of the guys on the Flames. That isn’t a knock on the Flames, but some guys are better on certain teams, whether it’s the system or environment.
In any event, Neal has jump started the offence, and along with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the Oilers could be in for a trip to the playoffs. The Oilers have been criticized for having a toxic locker room in the past, though winning is a good way to fix those kinds of team issues. Edmonton have been hot offensively, with an average of 3.75 goals per game to put them in the top-5 of offences in the league. This could be a mismatch against the Jets’ defence who have been struggling mightily in the early stages of 2019-20.
Winnipeg own the 26th best defence in the NHL with 3.67 goals allowed per game. Connor Hellebuyck, who was a Vezina candidate a couple of seasons ago, has been struggling to regain that magic. While he’s been decent with a 2.70 GAA and 0.919 save percentage, it’s off pace from his 2.36 GAA and 0.924 save percentage in 2017-18. The Oilers, despite their issues last season, had their offence working against the Jets. Note that Edmonton scored 12 goals in three games for an average of 4 scored a game.
The Jets have been able to keep pace with the Oilers in that regard, though. In fact, they’ve been even better with 13 goals scored in their previous three meetings for 4.3 goals per game. The Jets have scored at least 4 goals against the Oilers in their last six outings. That’s good for an average of 4.5 goals. The OVER has gone 3-0 and 5-1 in their most recent battles. This looks like a 4-3 or 5-3 game in Winnipeg on Sunday.