EDMONTON — Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard combined to make 29 saves for the shutout as the Edmonton Oilers started what is anticipated to be a season packed with potential with a 4-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in NHL pre-season play Sunday.
Markus Niemelainen, James Hamblin, Ryan McLeod and Dylan Holloway scored for the Oilers, who are 1-0 in exhibition action.
David Rittich made 22 saves for the Jets (0-1).
It didn’t take long for the Oilers to start the scoring as Niemelainen snuck in from the point and took a Brad Malone feed before blasting a puck past Jets goalie Rittich just 41 seconds into the opening period.
Edmonton had 13 shots in the first, with the Jets matching that total on Oilers starter Skinner, who has been slotted in as the likely backup to Jack Campbell this season.
Winnipeg had a great opportunity to pull even with a two-man advantage midway through the second period, but Skinner proved up to the challenge, including making a big glove save on a hard Kyle Capobianco shot.
Rittich also came up big in the middle frame, making a point-blank stop on Oilers’ 2020 first-round draft pick Holloway, who was buzzing all over the ice.
Skinner made 19 saves before being replaced by Pickard late in the second.
Edmonton extended its lead midway through the third period as a huge rebound from a Jason Demers' shot came out to Hamblin who sent his shot home before Rittich could get back across. Demers is attending training camp on a PTO.
The Oilers then scored a pair of goals in the span of 27 seconds with five minutes to play.
A puck popped loose in front of the Winnipeg net and McLeod was able to chip it over the Jets goalie and then a rocket from the point from Evan Bouchard ticked off Holloway and in.
The Oilers are right back at it Monday against the Kraken in Seattle. The Jets return home to face the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
NOTES: Neither team dressed its top-line players or defensive pairings. … Edmonton will suit up for seven more exhibition contests, going up against Seattle, playing a home-and-home series with the rival Calgary Flames, then competing against the Jets again, Vancouver twice and Seattle for a second time. … Winnipeg has five pre-season games remaining, taking on Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton again and then playing Calgary twice.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2022.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press