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Edmonton Oilers juggle lines ahead of game two making some of the strongest lines we’ve seen

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Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
6 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers are juggling the lines ahead of game two tonight, and they might be the best deployment we’ve seen all playoffs long.
According to The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman, here’s how the lines are set ahead of game two.
It’s important to note the few caveats regarding Shore and Broberg, but nonetheless, these are some strong lines.
Up top, you have Kane-McDavid-Draisatil. We know what McDavid and Kane can do offensively, and we know how the Dynamic Duo can play, too. My biggest concern with these three would be their defensive zone play, but that’s something the Oilers are willing to risk. They will absolutely need to bear down in the defensive zone in a matchup against the Flames’ top line. Here’s some WOWY’s at 5×5 for all four lines.
5×5TOICF%(GF-GA) GF%xGF%SCG%HDSCF%PDO
McDavid – Draisaitl274:0758.8(17-11) 60.7158.9953.9356.69100.8
McDavid – Kane399:5256.71(30-14) 68.1857.7552.3958.01103.8
Draisaitl – Kane183:3144.84(6-2) 7542.8341.8644.29105.4
The Oilers second line of Hyman – RNH – Puljujarvi might be their strongest all around. These three played just 17:27 5×5 TOI and while they were outscored 2-0, they controlled 55.17 percent of the shot attempts. It’s too small of a sample size to glean much from, but when you dive into some other 5×5 numbers around these three there are lots to like.
5×5TOICF%(GF-GA) GF%xGF%SCF%HDSCF%PDO
Puljujarvi – RNH52:3058.95(7-2) 77.7870.5362.9375111.7
Puljujarvi – Hyman335:5259.06(16-11) 59.2363.4362.4362.50101.1
RNH – Hyman192:2849.07(6-7) 46.1550.5651.0855.2699.2
No matter the combination, any pairing of these three have done a great job in controlling the pace of play, and the scoring, while on the ice. They’re going to get some softer matchups against the Flames’ second line and truth be told, this matchup could be where the game is won or lost. On paper they should be strong in their own zone, but will need to find a way to generate some offence. They’ll draw some middle six competition.
The third line of Foegele – McLeod – Yamamoto is another line I’m a big fan of. They’ve only played 10 minutes together outscoring opponents 1-0. Quietly, the pairing of Foegele and McLeod have been great in the Oilers’ bottom-six this year, while Yamamoto’s a workhorse who can fit in almost anywhere.
5×5TOICF%(GF-GA) GF%xGF%SCF%HDSCF%PDO
McLeod – Yamamoto78:3446.43(1-4) 20%32.1941.6735.2995.5
McLeod – Foegele234:5559.54(8-8) 50%57.6057.6554.8497.5
Foegele – Yamamoto70:1045.19(2-5) 28.5739.2637.5032.1494.2
There’s been some bad puck luck that have plagued the combinations of the three, but where I’m really looking here is that pair of McLeod – Foegele, who have done a great job controlling the pace of play in their good chunk of sample size together. This line will likely draw the Lucic – Lewis – Ritchie trio, and I like the speed of this third line for the Oilers against them.
The fourth line is a toss up, to say the least. Josh Archibald drags those down around him, but the Oilers should be able to shelter this line.
5×5TOICF%(GF-GA) GF%xGF%SCF%HDSCF%PDO
Ryan – Archibald3:16(3-3) 50028.336033.33100
Ryan – Kassian120:3155.45(7-8) 46.6755.4255.1460.9894.4
Kassian – Archibald27:0641.03(1-1) 5040.434462.5105.2
This line will be the Oilers physical line, who will likely draw a good chunk of DZ draws. Ryan and Kassian have some solid numbers together with a good sample size, and they’ll likely draw some combination of the Flames’ bottom-two lines.
All in all, I think the deployment of these lines is likely the strongest we’ve seen from the Oilers in these playoffs. There’s some chatter that Dylan Holloway could draw into his first NHL games, and I think he’s ready for that jump. I could see him drawing in on the fourth line alongside Ryan and Kassian, if he plays, and I think that would only help that fourth line.
Edmonton could also opt to go with 11/7 again, too. We know Draisaitl is battling a high-ankle sprain, but it was reported Friday by Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli that Nurse is dealing with a core-muscle injury that will likely require offseason surgery.
If they go that route, my guess is we see Josh Archibald draw out of the lineup, while Kris Russell draws in on the back end.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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