PREVIEW: Barons vs. Houston #2
Barons play first in two-game set this weekend against Houston
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PUCK DROP: 6:05 p.m. MDT
AT THE MORNING SKATEOKLAHOMA CITY - The Barons took part in an optional practice on Saturday morning. With tonight being the middle game in a three-in-three set, there weren't many skaters participating.
Among the players who played last night, Mark Arcobello, Taylor Hall and Cam Abney were the only forwards skating. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Curtis Hamilton -- who will both play tonight -- also skated.
On defence, Dan Ringwald didn't play last night but will play tonight and skated. Alex Plante, Taylor Fedun, Teigan Zahn and Martin Marincin also hit the ice this morning.
Marincin left Friday's game early. He skated today but is still doubtful to play tonight.
"I think, as of right now, for precautionary reasons he'll be out tonight," said head coach Todd Nelson. "I'm just going to talk to him and the doctors here once he gets off the ice and see how he feels."
Regardless if Marincin goes or not, the Barons will have six healthy defencemen to start the game after having to play most of Friday with only five.
"I thought the guys managed their ice pretty good," said Nelson. "Any time you get down one defenceman you've got to be careful in the scrums. You don't want to put your defence core down one or two guys when you only have five guys or you're pretty much in trouble. I thought our guys did a pretty good job managing that."
Other injuries include Ryan Martindale, who got banged up on Friday, and Anton Lander who didn't play Friday but came down with an illness this morning. Taylor Hall was unlikely to play tonight but now he can't anyway because of his suspension due to a match penalty at the end of the game.
"It's kind of funny how it all works out. Ryan Martindale got banged up a bit last night, Anton Lander's sick and Taylor Hall is still suspended so that's all we have is 12 healthy forwards ready to go and six healthy defencemen."
One of those healthy forwards making his way back into the lineup is Curtis Hamilton.
"I've got to make sure I'm finishing all my checks," said Hamilton. "I'm a big guy on the team so I've got to make sure I'm playing that. Good in the corners and tough on the wall. Keep it simple out there."
READY FOR BATTLE
Friday's game was a war of attrition with Marincin and Martindale going down for the Barons and Jonas Brodin (broken collarbone) after his hit by Hall and Mikael Granlund following a collision with Colten Teubert both out for the Aeros.
"I expect the same thing. I expect a tight game. They're a hard-working team, they're playing their system well. We have to get on the same page defensively. That's one of the things we focused on this morning," Nelson began.
"I thought we spent too much time in our defensive zone last night. You've got to give Houston credit. They've come with a lot of pressure but I expect a similar-type game. It's going to be a close game and once again, special teams are going to probably play a factor in it."
- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com