Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:45 AM EST.
9:05 PM EST. The Oilers really need no introductions. They are 1-1 after two games with a 3-0 victory over Calgary and a 3-2 loss in Vancouver on Saturday night. It should be noted however, that the Oilers outshot Calgary 45-26 and outshot Vancouver 35-26 and out-chanced both by a wide margin too. We also like that the Oilers are coming off a loss, as there will be no complacency here. Attacking the Jets is also high on our list.
The Winnipeg Jets have a collection of high-end talent that should be winning games at a high clip. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find this much talent all under the same roof but until they change coaches and culture, they are going to continue to get buried by high scoring teams like they did in their first two losses of the year.
We can dissect Winnipeg’s losses to Toronto and Calgary all day long but it won't change the results. The real issue here is that this team never really eradicates any one problem for very long, or ever. The Jets allow a lot of goals. That is a problem because it means there is more pressure on the offence to score more if a win is to occur. We’re only two games in but let’s look at the state of the Jets after two games and after last year’s debacle. The part of inconsistency that is often overlooked is preparation for a game. That's not just watching film or knowing the opposition, that's the easy part of preparation. A team that is prepared for playing is ready to dictate the flow and pace of the game by executing their game plan and countering the opposition's game plan. The Jets seldom apply that and remain one of the most unpepared teams in sports.
Coach Paul Maurice called it "the right time" to give Connor Hellebuyck his first start of the year. Steve Mason began Winnipeg's first two games of the season but he has a 0-2-0 record with a 6.53 GAA and an .831 save percentage. Hellebuyck saw some action in Wednesday's opener against Toronto and he allowed two goals on 11 shots. Mason was yanked in his first start. Paul Maurice has already started the revolving doors of goaltenders. He attempted that strategy last year and it blew up in his face. The Jets now have two goaltenders, just like last year, that will be playing with their confidence shot. You may remember last year that Toronto’s Frederik Andersen was torched in his first five games but Mike Babcock said, We brought him in to be our #1 goaltender and we’re going to stick with him. The Jets brought in Steve Mason to be their #1 goaltender and after two games, he has been yanked once and has lost his starting job.
Paul Maurice’s teams lack discipline and preparation. He gets some accolades for...well, not being offensively bad at his job but he is bad. He just exists. He's that thing in the back of your fridge you bought for one meal and forgot was there for months. He is the mayonnaise of NHL head coaches and the Jets need to change it up. He can’t stick to one goaltender for even five games and now he’ll throw Connor Hellebuyck into the fire in Edmonton. Again, Paul Maurice called it the “right time: but it’s actually the worst time. After losing 7-2 and 6-3 to Toronto and Calgary respectively, the Jets are in line to get whacked again.
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EDMONTON -1½ +184 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.68)