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 GAME PREVIEW presented by  BOSTON PIZZA

PREVIEW: Oilers vs. Stars at OKC

Oilers wrap up pre-season with a game against Dallas at Oklahoma City

Friday, 27.09.2013 / 1:01 PM / Boston Pizza Game Preview
By edmontonoilers.com staff
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PREVIEW: Oilers vs. Stars at OKC
Oilers wrap up pre-season with a game against Dallas at Oklahoma City
TV: edmontonoilers.com
(available in AB/SK/NWT)
RADIO: 630 CHED
PUCK DROP: 6:08 p.m. MDT
OILERS vs. STARS (at OKC) - GET THE SCOOP


AT THE MORNING SKATE

FINE TUNING

The Edmonton Oilers have their final pre-season tune up tonight when they take on the Dallas Stars in Oklahoma City. As Head Coach Dallas Eakins attempts to finalize his depth chart for the upcoming season, he has taken to experimenting with the forward line combinations.

David Perron and Jordan Eberle, who have built some chemistry, will now be split up. The reasoning behind the move is to help neutralize the effects of the injuries to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner. Hopefully spreading the talent around will help equalize the lines. Splitting up that line was not an easy choice for Eakins.

"That was one where you kind of lay at sleep at night wondering if you shouldn't do that," said the Oilers bench boss. "They have had great chemistry together. I'm looking for them to maybe cover off a couple of other guys to have those three lines a little more equal. That's kind of the thought process of tonight. I'm going to see what's going. If it's not going the way I like, I'm just going to put them back together. That's the great thing about exhibition games. We can fool around with it now so that we don't have to fool around with it later."

The fine tuning will continue as the team tries to work on the smaller details that will help make them better in the long run.

"I think these games are pretty valuable for nailing the details down in our game and everyone getting on the same page," said centre Will Acton. "We went over a few things this morning that we'll execute tonight and that's what we're looking to do."

BELOV GETTING BETTER

Oilers new defenceman Anton Belov has steadily been adjusting to the NHL game after his career in Russia. Coach Eakins is excited with the progress of the blue liner.

"I think he's gotten better each and every night," said Eakins. "He's a quick study. The one thing we were a little worried about is our d-zone coverage with him, he was a little hesitant, but he fully gets it now. He's been strong, he moves the puck well, he's adjusting to the smaller rink very quickly. So far, so good on his progress."

Belov will be paired with Justin Schultz tonight against Dallas.

BRING THE NOISE

The Oklahoma City Barons fans who rock the Cox Convention Center on a nightly basis during the hockey season left an impression on the Oilers players who stayed there at the start of last season. Even on the days with a smaller crowd, the noise in the building was formidable.

The Oilers are excited to play in front of, what is expected to be, one of the larger crowds Oklahoma City has produced in that building.

"It should be a really good atmosphere with a lot of people in here," said defenceman Justin Schultz. "It will be loud. They're all excited for us to play. It's usually loud anyway when they don't have that many fans. So I am curious to see how loud it gets tonight."

Schultz was also excited to see familiar faces and sign autographs for some OKC followers today after practice.
 
-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com

GAME PREVIEW

OILERS

FORWARDS

4 Taylor Hall
6 Jesse Joensuu
13 Mike Brown
14 Jordan Eberle
33 Steve MacIntyre
41 Will Acton
48 Ryan Hamilton
57 David Perron
62 Mark Arcobello
64 Nail Yakupov
83 Ales Hemsky
94 Ryan Smyth

DEFENCE


2 Jeff Petry
5 Ladislav Smid
19 Justin Schultz
21 Andrew Ference
36 Philip Larsen
77 Anton Belov

GOALTENDERS


1 Jason LaBarbera
40 Devan Dubnyk

PROJECTED LINES


Smyth - Hall - Hemsky
Joensuu - Arcobello - Eberle
Perron - Gordon - Yakupov
MacIntyre - Acton - Brown

Belov- J. Schultz
Smid - Petry
N. Schultz - Larsen

Dubnyk

UP FRONT:
Based on the lines the Oilers skated with on Thursday, the line of Ryan Smyth, Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky will be reunited. Jesse Joensuu will join the duo of Mark Arcobello and Jordan Eberle which was successful on Tuesday. David Perron and Nail Yakupov have had some success together this season and they will both be skating with Boyd Gordon down the middle. Steve MacIntyre makes his return to the Oilers with Will Acton in the middle and Mike Brown on the right side.
 
ON THE BLUELINE:
Russian puck mover Anton Belov plays on a pairing with former Dallas Stars blueliner Philip Larsen. Justin Schultz and Andrew Ference pair up and the familiar defence duo of Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry will likely play together.

BETWEEN THE PIPES:
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins says that Devan Dubnyk will play the full 60 minutes tonight in goal for the Oilers.

KEEP AN EYE ON:
MacIntyre makes his return to the Oilers after spending his last two seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. Over two seasons, MacIntyre played 13 games with the Penguins and had 18 penalty minutes. 12 of those minutes came in his only NHL game last season.This will be MacIntyre's third stint with the Oilers.
 
STARS

FORWARDS


12 Alex Chiasson  
16 Ryan Garbutt  
18 Chris Mueller  
20 Cody Eakin  
21 Antoine Roussel  
22 Colton Sceviour  
25 Brett Ritchie  
28 Lane MacDermid  
38 Vernon Fiddler  
39 Travis Morin  
43 Valeri Nichushkin  
52 Luke Gazdic  

DEFENCE

4 Brenden Dillon  
5 Jamie Oleksiak  
23 Kevin Connauton  
37 Patrik Nemeth
45 Jyrki Jokipakka
55 Sergei Gonchar  

GOALTENDERS

30 Dan Ellis  
32 Kari Lehtonen  
41 Cristopher Nilstorp   

PROJECTED LINES


MacDermid - Eakin - Nichushkin
Garbutt - Fiddler - Ritchie
Roussel - Mueller - Sceviour
Gazdic - Morin - Smith

Connauton - Oleksiak
Dillon - Fortunus
Nemeth - Jokipakka

UP FRONT:
The Stars used what could be arguably close to their opening-night lineup at home on Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche That could mean that certain names intriguing to Oilers fans won't find their way to Oklahoma City tonight. Players like former Oilers captian Shawn Horcoff, Tyler Seguin, Erik Cole for starters. Healthy Stars forwards who did not play Thursday include Colton Sceviour, Brett Ritchie, Chris Mueller, Travis Morin and Luke Gazdic.  All five will suit up tonight in OKC.

ON THE BLUELINE: On defence, Kevin Connauton and 6'7" Jamie Oleksiak will be paired up. Brenden Dillon and Maxim Fortunus make up the second pairing and Patrik Nemeth and Jyrki Jokipakka are in pairing number three.

BETWEEN THE PIPES:
Kari Lehtonen went the distance for the Stars last night. Tonight, it could be Dan Ellis or perhaps Cristopher Nilstorp who starts for the Stars.

KEEP AN EYE ON:
While playing with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League last season, Antoine Roussel mixed it up with the Oilers affiliate Oklahoma City Barons often. Roussel had a knee-on-knee collision with Jordan Eberle in late October and then dropped the gloves with Taylor Hall in late December. It will be interesting to see if any of that bad blood creeps up tonight.

-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com

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