Teddy Purcell scored the overtime winner against the Ducks Wednesday night so not surprisingly, he's quite in favour of the NHL's new three-on-three format.
"If we lost that game you could probably say 3-on-3 is tough, but I think it’s exciting," he said. "I think that it’s something different. I don’t think a lot of guys were fans of the shootouts anyways."
Purcell credited goaltender Anders Nilsson keeping the play alive with helping the team get the 4-3 victory.
"They had a 3-on-2 and I just fell behind the play there and Leon (Draisaitl) did a great job of back-checking and breaking it up. Then (Nilsson) made a heads-up play keeping the play alive and then Sekera made a great pass. So it was a lot of things in one to get that breakaway."
Former Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff registered his 500th career NHL point with a goal in the third period. However, Horcoff wasn't too willing to speak about the accomplishment following a loss.
"Maybe when everything is said and done I’ll think back, but right now it’s just another point. It would’ve been a little nicer with a win, but I’ll think about all that stuff later," he said.
Horcoff said the team should have been able to hold onto the multiple leads they had, particularly in the third.
"We had two leads in the third period. That should be enough to win, but we just didn’t get it done defensively. We’ll take the point and move on."
Horcoff had 446 of his career points in Oilers colours (164 goals, 282 assists).
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.”
Peter Chiarelli, along with fellow co-general manager Stan Bowman, has been charged with piecing together the roster for Team North America, which will participate in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Chiarelli and Bowman will draw from both Canada and the United States, selecting players under the age of 23 (as of October 1, 2016).
In his scouting so far involving the eligible pool of players, Chiarelli says he sees “a lot of variance” with the youth.
The variance allows some players who may not have been seen on the original list to jump into the fray, while some may drop off.
“These guys, they bubble up but then they can bubble down too. It would be nice if we could delay to the very last minute with our team, but we can’t,” said Chiarelli.
Team North America will try to wait as long as they can, however. The Oilers president of hockey operations and general manager says he expects the management team to take up until the March 1 deadline to pick the first 16 and then up until June 1 to name the rest of the roster (total of 20 skaters and three goalies).
Chiarelli was asked if there is more risk for Team North America given the age of the players, to lock in 16.
“There’s a bit of a risk,” said Chiarelli. “I think we’ve got a pretty good idea of the locks and who those 16 are. I think we will have a very good idea at that point. There’s always a risk. I think if you look back on these teams, with the selection base, there are guys who should be on it or who shouldn’t be on it when you look back. I’m sure that will be the case too.”
- BLOG: Thursday practice updates
- Gazdic likely in, Hendricks a question says coach
- McLellan on reuniting Hall-Draisaitl-RNH
- Eberle getting up to speed
- PRACTICE | Tuesday in Anaheim
- PRACTICE RAW | Andrej Sekera
- PRACTICE RAW | Mark Letestu
- PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan
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.”