GDB +16.0: Three lineup changes for the Oilers, but no need to panic (6:30pm MT, CBC)

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
20 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers trail Dallas two games to one in the series, but they have no need to panic, even if there looks to be three lineup changes. The series has been very close, and evening up their best-of-seven series tonight vs. Dallas is very doable.
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Based on the morning skate, it looks like Vincent Desharnais, Sam Carrick and Warren Foegele are out, and Philip Broberg, Corey Perry and Ryan McLeod are back in.
I understand a certain portion of the fanbase will overreact after a loss. It is human nature. Emotions run high in the playoffs. In round one, when they lost Game 2 in overtime to LA, for some, the sky was falling, and they weren’t going to recover. The Oilers won the next three games.
When the Oilers trailed Vancouver three games to two, many of the same people wrote them off. The Oilers won the next two games.
There is no guarantee the Oilers will win tonight, or win the series, but they are a good team and very capable of winning tonight and making this a best-of-three. I don’t view the potential lineup changes as a sign of panic by Kris Knoblauch, but more that they have good player depth, and he wants to use it. Carrick hasn’t played poorly at all since being re-inserted into the lineup, but it looks like he’s coming out.
Through the first three games the Oilers have had a lead for 61:42 or playing time. Dallas has led for 35:08, and the teams have played 103:42 when the game has been tied.
In the opening game the Oilers led for 35:39, after Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring 58 seconds into the second period, and before Dallas tied the game late in the third. Edmonton won 32 seconds into double overtime.
In Game 2, Jamie Benn opened the scoring at 3:39, but Edmonton tied it 44 seconds later and the game remained tied, until Mason Marchment scored with 16:19 remaining.
In Game 3, Zach Hyman scored 122 seconds into the game and the Oilers led for the next 26:03. Dallas tied it and went ahead by scoring three goals in 3:33 and held the lead for 9:59 until Adam Henrique tied it late in the second period. The Stars went ahead with 8:06 remaining. Edmonton held the lead for 26:03 while Dallas had the lead for 18:05.
The Oilers have been in every game. A horrific start to the second period cost them Game 3. They have to find ways to lean on the ropes and absorb Dallas’ punches, rather than stick their chin out and get knocked down. Dallas is good, and there will be times when they carry the play, just the Oilers have, but Edmonton has to find a way to change the momentum and limit those stretches to a few minutes, rather than stretches of 10+ minutes.
It won’t be easy, but it is very achievable. Edmonton has had long stretches where it’s carried the play. They’ve given Dallas just as much trouble as the Stars have given the Oilers. Edmonton was one inch from leading Game 3, when Vincent Desharnais’ point shot hit the goal post 9:35 into the final period. If he scores, we could be talking about Edmonton leading the series and Dallas needing a win tonight.
The margins in this series are razor thin, yet if you read some of the commentary it’s as though the Oilers have no chance and are doomed. I don’t understand that thinking. The Oilers have started great the past two games. They’ve dominated the first periods — they just aren’t ready for Dallas’ pushback. They need to excel at the small details when they have the lead, like getting pucks out when you are close to the blue line. That cost them two goals in Game 3.
The Oilers’ top line dominated the first period, but then they allowed Dallas’ top line to score two goals on consecutive head-to-head shifts in a span of 2:30 to tie the game.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins needed to push the puck two more inches. It would have been out of the zone, and the Stars would have had to regroup. But he didn’t, and eight seconds later Jason Robertson scored.
On Robertson’s second goal, the Oilers were inches from clearing the puck again.
Then on Dallas’ third goal, Vincent Desharnais — once again, just inside the blue line — couldn’t get the puck out. Moments later the Stars had the lead.
Three goals directly resulting from not getting the puck out. Two of those clears were less than six inches from clearing the zone. The Oilers are right in this series. They’ve shown they can take the game to the Stars, or stick with them for long stretches, they just need to increase their execution at key areas of the ice.





**These are projections. Oilers didn’t run lines this morning and Knoblauch wouldn’t confirm lineup changes**
RNH – McDavid – Hyman
Holloway – Draisaitl – Kane
Henrique – McLeod – Brown
Janmark – Ryan – Perry
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Broberg
Again, this is just a projection. Warren Foegele, Sam Carrick and Vincent Desharnais were out late after the morning skate, which is often a sign of not playing. We’ll see in warmup. Regardless of who plays or not, the Oilers need to protect the lead better than they did Monday evening. The good news for the Oilers is they have good depth — you can make an argument that those sitting out could play and those coming in deserve to play.
The Oilers’ power play needs to contribute. It’s 0-for-5 in 8:42 of PP time. A timely goal would really help, especially because the penalty kill has been perfect killing off all seven penalties. One goal could have made the difference in Games 3 or 4. The Oiler aren’t shooting enough. In the 7:25 of PP time the first unit has been on for, they only have nine shots. Connor McDavid has three, while Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Evan Bouchard each have two. The Stars have won five of nine face offs while shorthanded, which has limited the Oilers’ O-zone time. Draisaitl’s injured left finger has limited his success in the face off dot. He’s 3-4 on the power play in the series.
The power play has only scored in one of the Oilers’ previous six games. Edmonton is 3-3 in those games. They aren’t relying on their PP to win, which is good, but it needs to produce tonight.


Robertson – Hintz – Seguin
Benn – Johnston – Stankoven
Marchment – Duchene – Pavelski
Faksa – Steel – Dadonov
Harley – Heiskanen
Lindell – Tanev
Suter – Petrovic
The Stars make one lineup change from Game 3. Radek Faksa is in for Craig Smith. Roope Hintz added a lot to their top line in Game 3,  and his appearance seemed to jumpstart Jason Robertson. The Oilers will need to do a better job shutting down that line tonight.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: I view this as a must-win game for Edmonton. They are 4-1 in games after a loss in this year’s playoffs, with the only loss coming in Game 3 v. Dallas. Oilers tie the series with a 4-2 victory.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score a power play goal.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Darnell Nurse scores his first goal of the playoffs.

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