Being the first goaltender to step off the ice at morning skate, Anders Nilsson gets the start in goal tonight for the Oilers.
Forward lines are:
Stay tuned for more, including tonight's starting goaltender.
Hall-RNH-Draisaitl, Pouliot-Letestu-Yak, Purcell-Lander-Eberle, Gazdic-Miller-Pak. Nurse-Sekera, Klefbom-Fayne, Reinhart-Gryba. No Hendricks— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) November 11, 2015
Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau was asked about his team's struggles this season in the second period. Anaheim has allowed 21 goals in the middle frame. By contrast, they have only allowed six goals in the first period and seven goals in the third period.
“To me, it’s 90% about line changes," said Boudreau. "That long change, if you don’t make the line changes at the right time you usually get caught and are in trouble. I mean, it’s something we have to work on. Last year and this year we’ve really struggled in the second period but it’s almost now a mental issue that we have to get over and have a great second period and I think we’ll be fine then.”
In terms of goals against, the second period is the best period for the Oilers. They have allowed only 13 goals in the second. Anaheim's best period is the first period with 12 goals for and six goals against. Edmonton's worst period is the opening frame with 11 goals for and 17 against.
“Hopefully it’s not a tentative thing. Hopefully there’s just a couple facets, ‘we’ve got to do this better or we’ve got to do that better’ in the second period and if we do that, we’ll be fine,” Boudreau continued.
“Last game, for example, it was five minutes. We had total control of the game. It was still 2-1 with 4:25 left in the second then we got caught on a long line change, we got caught in a bad D-zone situation and it unraveled. Then we re-grabbed ourself in the third period and came out differently. But we’ve got to be able to do the second period thing as well.”
Matt Hendricks skated with the team to start practice on Tuesday in Anaheim but as soon as battle drills began he skated to the dressing room.
Coach McLellan said there are still a lot that needs to be determined before he can pencil in his lineup for the Ducks tomorrow.
“We’ve got to evaluate where we’re at health wise. Obviously Matty Hendricks was a question mark after the pre-game skate in Chicago and didn’t play. He’s had two days here to recover and had a light skate today. We’ll see how he is tomorrow,” he said. “Our decisions will be made tomorrow, probably right at game time.”
One thing he did strongly hint at was that Luke Gazdic was a possibility to return to the lineup.
“We’ll have to get Gaz back into the games here soon. It’s a big strong team so it’s probably a good night for him to play. The rest we’ll decide as we go.”
In an effort to spark the team on Sunday in Chicago, Oilers head coach Todd McLellan put Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back together with Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl. It worked as the Oilers peppered 31 shots in the final two periods -- including 22 in the middle frame -- after only registering five shots on goal in the first.
McLellan put the three back together for practice on Tuesday in Anaheim. He was asked about moving a centre to the wing in order to create that line while going up against a team deep down the middle like the Ducks.
“We’re in a catch-22 situation. We’re of the belief that Anton and (Letestu) can provide us with some punch down there. They’re getting every opportunity to do it and I think that’s a great thing for them at this point. For us to be successful they’re going to have to provide it,” McLellan began.
“Our team was a different team when we put Leon back with Nuge and Hallsy. And the other thing that came out of the game was I thought Ebs got going a little bit, too. He’s getting closer to getting up to speed and feeling good about his game.”
McLellan said that he felt the team is staffed up to handle what the Ducks throw at them, so long as they don't lose anymore players. Including Hendricks, the Oilers have four forwards out at the moment.
“We just don’t want to lose any players right now. We’re so busy trying to find a few extra guys that the last thing we need to do is lose players. That’s a fine balance between the coaching staff and how we set our lines up.”
With a goal against Chicago on Sunday in his second game back, Jordan Eberle is getting back in the swing of things when it comes to being a contributor in the Oilers lineup. It was the first time that Eberle has started a season on the injured list.
“I knew it was going to be tough. I didn’t think it was going to be that tough,” Eberle chuckled. “Coming in against Pittsburgh, they’re a fast team. Ideally that was not where I wanted to start. I remember that first period, my neck was sore my head was on a swivel so much. The puck was moving so quick.”
Eberle scored a power play goal early in the third period to get Edmonton on the board against the 'Hawks.
“I thought I settled into that game a little better and then last game in Chicago I started to really feel good and get confident with the puck. Obviously, putting the puck in the net helps to get some confidence. I still have room to grow but I like where it’s going.”
Oilers head coach Todd McLellan also talked about the speed of the game in reference to Eberle.
“I think it’s a combination of everything. The game is going fast right now. When you haven’t been able to start at the starting line with everybody else, that affects you a lot. Ebs has poise, he has maturity, he’s experienced but nothing makes up for that pace.
“We talk a lot about his skillset. It’s cerebral, it’s quick hands, it’s making tight little plays. When the game is going fast that’s a hard thing to do when you’re not used to it.”
Oilers lines are:
Hall - Draisaitl - Nugent-Hopkins
Pouliot - Letestu - Yakupov
Purcell - Lander - Eberle
Gazdic - Miller - Pakarinen
UPDATE: Nail Yakupov left the ice about 25 minutes into practice but returned five minutes later.
Lines: Hall-Draisaitl-RNH, Pouliot-Letestu-Yak, Purcell-Lander-Eberle, Gazdic-Miller-Pakarinen. Hendricks left ice before battle drills.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) November 10, 2015
Oilers winger Matt Hendricks will not play tonight. He is not taking warm-ups.
No sign of Hendricks in warmup. Hunch Oilers will go with 7 D, as Davidson is taking warmup.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) November 9, 2015
Line combinations for the Oilers look to be the same as last game:
Hall - Draisaitl - Eberle
Pouliot - RNH - Yakupov
Hendricks - Letestu - Purcell
Lander - Miller - Pakarinen
On defence, Mark Fayne and Brandon Davidson have switched spots.
Klefbom - Fayne
Nurse - Sekera
Reinhart - Gryba
Ference - Davidson
On the other side, Marian Hossa is expected to return to the lineup tonight for the Blackhawks after missing the team's last three games.