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AT THE MORNING SKATE
The Oilers and Jets will square off tonight at Rexall Place in Edmonton tonight. The Oilers are coming off of a 5-2 win over Vancouver while the Jets suffered a 4-3 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
These two teams have faced off one already this pre-season ending in a 3-2 Oilers loss in Winnipeg in which a late rally fell short.
The Edmonton Oilers provided an update on centre Sam Gagner who suffered a broken jaw against Vancouver on Saturday. Gagner is listed as out indefinitely and the Oilers have announced that he will undergo surgery tomorrow.
It is expected that it will take at least one plate to fix the jaw. The injury happened when Vancouver's Zack Kassian swung a high-stick into the face of Gagner.
With Gagner out indefinitely, it provides an opportunity for the forwards who are currently on the bubble to make the Oilers roster. Anton Lander, Mark Arcobello and Will Acton were very much locked in a battle for the fourth-line centre spot but with another injury to the position, there is even more opportunity for those players.
Tonight's game the Jets will provide a chance for players like Anton Lander to step up and show their skills.
"Of course I am real excited about it," said Lander. "It's a big opportunity for me and to play at home in Rexall is always incredible to play here. Tonight, it's going to be a good game. Winnipeg plays hard, they play tough and they're big and strong so we need to come out ready to play."
Edmonton General Manager Craig MacTavish talked to the media about the centre position and discussed the opportunities facing his players. MacTavish seemed especially impressed by Arcobello.
"It's an opportunity for Mark Arcobello to get a shot and see what he can do or Anton Lander or Will Acton," said MacTavish. "We have to weigh what the incremental difference would be if we were to pick a guy up compared to what we have."
"Arcobello has looked good to me. You have to be a little bit careful with judging and reaching conclusions at this time of year. The next few games our rosters will be paired down and we'll get a little bit more information but he's looked okay. He's proven he can do it very well at the American Hockey League level and I think he deserves an opportunity."
For MacTavish, it won't take much for one of the players to separate themselves from the rest.
"I think just overall my assessment of all those guys right on the bubble is it's not going to take too much to push them over the top. You just want to see the intensity that the situation calls for exhibited during the games and I think that could sway the pendulum one way or the other when we're talking about the three or four guys that are on the bubble."
Head Coach Dallas Eakins also touched on the Oilers forward battles and particularly focused on Lander who is in a battle.
"(Lander) is fighting to stay another day," said Eakins. "He's with that group that are on the tight rope now and there's probably five or six of them and that's where he's at. I think he's been good at camp, but good is the enemy of great. That group of five or six players, there's going to be a battle to see who's left standing here in about a week for now."
OILERS ADD TOUGHNESS
Although it does not affect tonight's game against Winnipeg, a major topic of discussion at the Oilers morning skate was the acquisition of forward Steve MacIntyre who was claimed off of waivers.
A line brawl in the Buffalo Sabres vs. Toronto Leafs pre-season game last night coupled with the incidents in the Oilers game against Vancouver game on Saturday night had Edmonton pulling the trigger on a guy who's main role is to protect the team's young stars.
"Watching the Leafs-Buffalo game last night and what happened to us against Vancouver it shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody that we'd gain some toughness or pick up some toughness," said Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish. "We've talked about it pretty extensively in the past three or four months. We know the player, we know what he's capable of and we think there was a need here and that's why we picked him up."
Look for more on MacIntyre later today on Inside the Oilers.
-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com
13 Mike Brown
23 Linus Omark
27 Boyd Gordon
28 Ryan Jones
41 Will Acton
51 Anton Lander
55 Ben Eager
64 Nail Yakupov
15 Nick Schultz
77 Anton Belov
81 Taylor Fedun
40 Devan Dubnyk
OILERS PROJECTED LINES
(BASED ON SUNDAY'S PRACTICE)
Omark - Gordon - Yakupov
Joensuu - Arcobello - Pitlick
Jones - Lander - Hamilton
Eager - Acton - Brown
Ference - Belov
Smid - Larsen
N.Schultz - Fedun
The Oilers are coming off of two straight pre-season wins, both against the Vancouver Canucks. The most recent of those victories was a 5-2 showing in Edmonton on Saturday night.
The Oilers will look to make it three-straight exhibition wins when they host the Winnipeg Jets tonight.
GROUNDING THE JETS
This will be the second time that the Oilers and Jets have faced off during the 2013 pre-season.
The first meeting between the two teams came on Wednesday September 18 in the form of a 3-2 Oilers loss.
The Jets took a 3-0 lead in Winnipeg with just 4:25 remaining in the third period. The Oilers then made things interesting.
Mitch Moroz scored for Edmonton a minute later. Then 23 seconds after that goal, Nail Yakupov dished a pass in front of Ondrej Pavelec. Philip Larsen earned his second point of the night when he buried the pass to draw the visitors within one.
The Oilers rally would fall short and the Jets escaped with a 3-2 win.
Edmonton will get their chance to exact revenge on Winnipeg tonight at Rexall Place. It is Jets first visit to the City of Champions since March of 1996.
The Oilers will be without one of their top centres when they take on the Jets tonight.
Sam Gagner took a high-stick to the mouth on Saturday night against the Canucks and has been listed as out indefinitely with a broken jaw.
9 Evander Kane
12 Olli Jokinen
14 Anthony Peluso
15 Matt Halischuk
17 James Wright
20 Andrew Gordon
22 Chris Thorburn
28 Patrice Cormier
52 Ivan Telegin
56 Adam Lowry
58 Eric O'Dell
67 Michael Frolik
2 Adam Pardy
3 Jacob Trouba
5 Mark Stuart
24 Grant Clitsome
25 Zach Redmond
44 Zach Bogosian
32 Edward Pasquale
35 Al Montoya
JETS PROJECTED LINES
Kane - Jokinen - Frolik
Halischuk - O'Dell - Wright
Telegin - Lowry - Peluso
Gordon - Cormier - Thorburn
Bogosian - Clitsome
Stuart - Redmond
Pardy - Trouba
The Winnipeg Jets suffered a 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night courtesy of Jason Pominville’s shootout goal. Winnipeg centre Eric O’Dell tallied two points while Ondrej Pavelec made 33 saves on 36 shots for the Jets in the loss.
The ninth overall pick in 2012 defenceman Jason Trouba has continued his strong pre-season for the Winnipeg Jets. In the loss to Minnesota, he had an assist, two shots on net, three hits and a blocked shot while playing 25:41.
The Jets will look to bounce back with a quick turnaround as they take on Edmonton tonight.
Winnipeg Jets centre prospect Adam Lowry will see his first game of the pre-season since hurting his neck in the first scrimmage of camp when he plays against the Oilers tonight. He has been held out of contact as a precaution ever since.
Lowry was the third round pick, 67th overall, by the Jets in 2011. He had a breakout season in the WHL during the 2012-13 campaign with the Swift Current Broncos.
The forward played 72 regular season games with the Broncos and scored a career-high 45 goals and added another career high in assists with 43. He also contributed five points (3-2-5) in five playoff games.
Lowry is a big forward prospect at six-foot-five and 200 pounds.
-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com