Oilers keeping new-look lines for tonight's playoff game in LA

Apr 21 2023, 11:38 pm

It looks like the Edmonton Oilers will start Game 3 with a different look from how they played most of last game.

Following a 4-2 loss to the Kings in Game 2, it appears Evander Kane and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be swapping spots, as they did during the third period on Wednesday.

Kane was skating with Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman at the morning skate, according to Sportsnet’s Jack Michaels, while Nugent-Hopkins featured in a trio with Leon Draisaitl and Kailer Yamamoto.

It appears Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft will elect to dress 11 forwards and seven defencemen once again.

Ryan McLeod is slated to skate on the third line, between Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan. Klim Kostin and Nick Bjugstad are the remaining duo up front.

Defence pairings appear to be unchanged, while Stuart Skinner is the expected starter in goal.

McDavid mini-slump

For most NHL players, having one assist and 11 shots on goal through two games would not be a bad thing.

But McDavid is not most players.

The Oilers captain just put together one of the most impressive NHL regular seasons of all-time, scoring 153 points, including 64 goals.

But so far, the Los Angeles Kings have managed to keep him in check — at least by any reasonable expectation for a player of his stature.

McDavid has no goals, and just one power-play assist so far. He has yet to tally his first even-strength point of the season.

The good news? The series is tied, and there’s lots of time for him to fill the net.

“I couldn’t care less about points. It’s more about winning games,” McDavid told reporters in LA this morning. “The series is 1-1, that’s the most important thing. It’d be nice to maybe find a way to chip in a bit more offensively, but it’s a tight checking series. We knew it was going to be that way. Like I said, I thought we’ve done a good job of generating chances. It’s only a matter of time.”

The Kings boast two elite defensive centres, with Phillip Danault getting matched up against McDavid, and Anze Kopitar going head-to-head against Draisaitl.

Draisaitl has found a way to break through so far though, leading all Oilers players in scoring in the postseason, with five points (3-2-5) in two games.

Tonight’s game starts at 8 pm MT, while Game 4 on Sunday is at 7 pm MT.

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