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Edmonton Oilers load up top line for Friday game against Avalanche

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Photo credit:© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
29 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers are returning to the loaded-up top line for their Friday night game against the Colorado Avalanche.
The new look lines were revealed during the morning skate, where Connor McDavid centred Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman.
Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch has done so with more frequency as of late, but since he took over in November, they’ve played 224 minutes of 5v5 hockey together. In it, they’ve outscored the opposition 21-6, controlling 77.78 percent of the goal share, as well as controlling 59.41 percent of the shot attempt share, 64.17 percent of the expected goal share and 65.15 percent of the scoring chances.
While they score and defend at excellent rates, posting a 5.6 goals for per hour and 1.6 goals against per hour, the rest of the Oilers lineup ails offensively, scoring a measly 1.79 goals for per hour. The rest of the Oilers manage to keep their heads above water with shot attempt shares and expect goal shares nearing 52 percent.
The Oilers second line will see Ryan Nugent-Hopkins centre Adam Henrique and Warren Foegele, while Ryan McLeod will centre Evander Kane and Corey Perry on the fourth line. Sam Carrick draws out of the lineup on the fourth line, as Derek Ryan will centre Mattias Janmark and Connor Brown.
The Oilers’ defensive pairings remain the same, with Mattias Ekholm and Evan Bouchard playing together, while Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci, as well as Brett Kulak and Vincent Desharnais, pair up.
There’s no word yet on the Avalanche lineup, but both Valeri Nichuskin and Yakov Trenin have missed recent games. Nichushkin has missed the last four due to a lower-body injury, while Trenin has missed the last two for undisclosed reasons.
The Athletic’s Corey Masisak reported Thursday both have the potential to return to the Avalanche lineup for tonight’s game.
Games between the Oilers and Avalanche are always eventful, with six of the last seven games — dating back to the start of the 2021-22 season — resulting in overtime or shootout wins. The Oilers have struggled to close out such games, going 2-0-5 with goals being split evenly at 20 per team across them.
Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. MST.

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@thenationnetwork.com.

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