Kris Knoblauch says the Oilers will make lineup changes, won’t confirm what they are

Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
23 days ago
Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch confirmed to the media this morning that the team will be making lineup changes for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Dallas Stars. The tricky part, however, is that he didn’t say what those changes were going to be.
Outside of having Kris Knoblauch reveal after Tuesday’s practice that there’s a “good chance” Ryan McLeod will return to the lineup, what other changes he plans on making are anyone’s guess. Looking at the list of under-performers from Game 3, we could be talking about any number of players that could be coming out of the lineup for the night.
The good news is that the Oilers’ beat writers were on the case. Try as the Oilers might to hide the details from us, the ideas starting coming out quickly. Shortly after Knoblauch spoke, The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman tweeted what he saw on the ice and it may give us an idea of what the coach is thinking for lineup changes.
In terms of getting things right, DNB is pretty much nails with his information so I’ve going to go ahead and believe what he tweeted to be the case. If true, Kris Knoblauch will be swapping out three players from the Game 3 lineup for some guys who will surely be fired up to make an impact.
Of the three potential scratches, I’m most surprised that Warren Foegele is actually getting the hook after what has been a very slow playoffs for him offensively. That’s not to say that he doesn’t deserve a reset, but I thought he would slip under the radar a little bit more based on the 20-goal season he just put down. But as we’ve learned about Kris Knoblauch throughout these playoffs, the guy is not afraid to make hard decisions when it comes to his lineup and this would certainly be another chapter in that same story.
As for Sam Carrick and Vinny Desharnais, I thought both guys have found ways to contribute positively throughout the series but struggled with puck management at times in Game 3. I really liked the way Carrick was able to cycle the puck down low and he’s one of the few centremen on the team that’s been able to win draws consistently. Desharnais, on the other hand, has been a staple in the lineup since Jump Street, and I’m surprised he’s getting the hook based on his ability to break up the cycle and use his size effectively.
At the end of the day, Kris Knoblauch clearly feels that the lineup needs a new look in what is a pivotal Game 4 matchup. Either the Oilers win and tie things up as they did against Vancouver or put themselves on the brink of elimination with two consecutive losses at home. While this may not necessarily be a “must-win” game in the literal sense of the word, I’d suggest that it very much is from the spiritual sense.
Only time will tell if a) the moves DNB is predicting are accurate even though I’d bet on it, and b) if this shakeup is the spark the boys need to right the ship. As Tom Petty famously said, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

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