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Edmonton Oilers Notebook: Jay Woodcroft blends lines at Monday practice

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
5 months ago
A Monday practice has seen Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft blend up the teams’ lineup.
The most notable change is Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl skating alongside Evander Kane on the top line. Draisaitl’s flanking the right side of McDavid, a spot that Connor Brown held through the first two games.
Brown, meanwhile, has been dropped down to the Oilers’ third line with Dylan Holloway and Ryan McLeod. The last change of note has seen Warren Foegele elevated to the Oilers’ second line alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman.
The new lines:
Kane – Draisaitl – McDavid
Foegele – RNH – Hyman
Holloway – McLeod – Brown
Erne – Janmark – Ryan
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Broberg
Desharnais
The blender comes out after two largely disappointing games to start the season against the Vancouver Canucks. Edmonton dropped game one in an embarrassing fashion 8-1, and on Saturday night, couldn’t find a way to eek out the win despite firmly outplaying the Vancouver side.
The changes come ahead of a Tuesday night game against the Nashville Predators, a “get right” spot for the Oilers, given the success that the likes of McDavid and Drasiaitl, specifically, have had against them. McDavid has scored nine goals and 33 points in 19 career games against them, but it’s Draisaitl who has had much more success. He himself has played 23 games against the Predators over the years, scoring a staggering 22 goals and 35 points.
The Oilers’ defence also has been mixed up going back to pairings that look a lot similar to the ones seen last season. Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci are back together, Mattias Ekholm and Evan Bouchard return to a pairing, and Brett Kulak and Philip Broberg skated together on the third pairing. It also bumped Vincent Desharnais out of the Oilers’ lineup as the seventh defenceman.
It’s entirely possible these lines are just for the practice and the Oilers revert back to the lines we saw in games one and two for Tuesday’s game against Nashville.

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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