Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins talked about continuing to find the right mix.
“We continue to search for goals (on the power play) and we’ll keep changing it, adjusting it, hammering on it,” he began.
“Hendy (Matt Hendricks) will not leave the front of that net when the puck’s up on the point. He’s good on retrievals. He’s heavy on pucks, we’ve got to have that. What happens on your power play usually is when a guy like that goes on it, there’s usually someone with skill who moves off or moves to another unit. It’s where we’re at now. We have to have somebody in front of the net.”
The head coach added that he felt that losing Boyd Gordon's faceoff ability -- he remains out with a back injury -- puts the team in a tough position.
“When you get into these situations, boy do you miss Boyd Gordon and the value that he brings our team in the faceoff circle.”
With Pitlick in front of the net on the other unit, Eakins is taking a page out of the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons.
“Pitter is going to be our bumper up there. He was doing it in Oklahoma City. We were chatting with (Barons head coach Todd Nelson) down there and he was real efficient there.”
While Pitlick has not been a centre for most of his pro career, Eakins does like his faceoff ability.
“He has centre in his background and can win face-offs as well. We’ll put him in that role on that unit.”
Pitlick played centre for a good number of shifts on Friday against Anaheim.
“I only moved him there for a shift or two and he did so well that I just let it run, I kept going with him. I thought he looked really good there. Is that a long-term approach for him? Probably not, at this level. But he was one of the guys for me last night that was going. He was playing and he was being physical. He’s in the mindset right now, whatever we ask him to do he just nods his head. You end up having a lot of time for players like that.”
Like last Sunday, the Oilers are not skating tomorrow morning. With the team coming off four games in six days and the Rangers playing tonight (and also not skating tomorrow), Coach Eakins felt that fresh legs were important for the club.
"You see that first period last night, we're pooched. Fourth game in six nights. With a win last night and better execution you wouldn't have seen us today. I would have liked to keep them right away from the rink to get them some rest but we needed touches. We had to go back on that power play again. We got that done today and now we need them to rest," Eakins stated.
Tyler Pitlick will be on a line with Mark Arcobello and David Perron on Sunday night against the New York Rangers. For Pitlick, he's skating with a couple of players he's familiar with. He skated with Perron in his first game up with the Oilers back on December 1 and played with Arcobello in Oklahoma City.
"I think it’ll be great," said Pitlick of his new linemates. "Me and Arco played together my first year in OKC pretty much the whole year. And on and off throughout the years that he was there. He was up and down quite a bit.
"I’m familiar with him and we’re kind of familiar with each other. We can trust each other so I think it’ll be good to have that factor," Pitlick continued. "Me and Perron played together that first game and I thought we played well together getting pucks in deep, playing a simple game and letting the forecheck take care of the work."
Arcobello added that he was looking forward to playing with Pitlick.
"He plays hard every game. He’s got good speed and size and likes to throw the body. It’s nice to have him on the forecheck. He’ll chip it in and press a lot of those D. It’s going to be good."
Line combinations are:
Looks like Hall-RNH-Purcell at practice this morning. Yak-Draisaitl-Eberle. Perron-Arcobello-Pitlick. Gazdic-Hendricks-Pinizzotto.— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) December 13, 2014
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Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish will address the media on Friday morning to take questions from the media.
From the team's media release:
Edmonton Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish will host a media availability tomorrow, December 5th at 9:00 a.m. at Rexall Place.
MacTavish will address the Oilers performance through 26 games and take questions from the media.
We will have the press conference LIVE on edmontonoilers.com beginning at 9:00 a.m. MST
Based on jersey colours, forward lines appear to be:
Dallas Stars forward Ryan Garbutt was suspended by the NHL for two games on Thursday for his hit on Taylor Hall. From the NHL's press release:
NEW YORK (Nov. 27, 2014) – Dallas Stars forward Ryan Garbutt has been suspended for two games, without pay, for kneeing Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall during NHL Game No. 319 in Dallas on Tuesday, Nov. 25, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 12:17 of the third period. Garbutt was assessed a minor penalty for tripping.
Garbutt is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $43,902.44. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Dallas forward Ryan Garbutt has been suspended 2 games for kneeing Edmonton forward Taylor Hall.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) November 27, 2014
It appears both Justin Schultz and Martin Marincin will be healthy scratches. Jesse Joensuu draws in with Luke Gazdic coming out.
"Justin has struggled a little bit as of late, and we felt it was best to hit the reset button." - Coach Eakins on Schultz sitting tonight— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 27, 2014