Lineup shuffle? McDavid and Draisaitl on same line at Oilers skate

Apr 25 2023, 9:50 pm

Are the Edmonton Oilers going to throw the Los Angeles Kings a new look tonight?

Judging by the lines observed at the morning skate, it appears that they might.

Both Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic and TSN 1260’s Tom Gazzola reported a pair of new Oilers lines this morning.

Connor McDavid was skating with Leon Draisaitl on his line, with rookie Dylan Holloway riding shotgun beside the Oilers’ two superstars. Perhaps Holloway, who hasn’t been drawn into the lineup yet during the playoffs, is simply a placeholder for Evander Kane. Kane didn’t skate but was likely simply taking a maintenance day, according to Tony Brar of Oilers TV.

The second line featured Nick Bjugstad between Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman.

Loading up McDavid and Draisaitl would be a bold move for the Oilers. McDavid has six points in four games but has failed to record an even-strength goal in the series. Draisaitl, meanwhile, has nine points in four games.

The Kings boast two world-class shutdown centres, in Phillip Danault and Anze Kopitar. Danault has had success going head-to-head against McDavid through four games, while Kopitar hasn’t been able to neutralize Draisaitl with as much success.

It’s one thing to shut down McDavid or Draisaitl; it’s another to try to shut down McDavid and Draisaitl at the same time.

It remains to be seen if Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft tries the nuclear option or if he sticks with the status quo by the time the puck drops.

After some debate since Sunday, Stuart Skinner has been named the Game 5 starter.

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