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Oilers mix up lines at Wednesday practice, reunite Draisaitl, Kane and Holloway

Edmonton Oilers Evander Kane Dylan Holloway
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
13 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers have mixed up their lines ahead of their trip to Florida to visit the Panthers in Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Changes for the Oilers didn’t see their top of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman split up, instead opting to mix up the other three lines.
The most notable change is Kris Knoblauch and co. reuniting the second line of Evander Kane, Leon Draisaitl and Dylan Holloway. The trio were first put together in Game 5 against the L.A. Kings, but were split up for the first three games of Edmonton’s second-round series against the Vancouver Canucks. Reunited in Game 4 of that series, they would stick together against the Dallas Stars for the first three games of that series.
Together, the trio was excellent for the Oilers, outscoring the opposition 4-3 in 75:22 of 5v5 ice time and doing excellent work controlling the pace of play. Playing high-event hockey, they controlled 51.12 percent of the shot attempt share, 55.45 percent of the expected goal share and 54.02 percent of the scoring chance share. Kane and Draisaitl have looked sharp together all season, but the emergence of Holloway on that line has been a huge boon for the Oilers.
While his production hasn’t been massive, scoring three goals and our points in 18 games, he’s elevated other areas of his game in a big way. At 5v5, according to Natural Stat Trick, he’s generated .85 rush attempts per hour, fourth on the team, 15.94 hits per hour, the second on the team, while also blocking a staggering 5.12 shots per hour, the fourth most on the team. His shot block rate, among 92 forwards with over 100 minutes of ice time in the playoffs, sits fourth. His ability to mix it up in different ways has been crucial for the Oilers, as they don’t need him generating lots of offence.
Edmonton’s third and fourth lines appear to be interchangeable. Adam Henrique centered Mattias Janmark and Connor Brown, while Derek Ryan and Sam Carrick rotated with Ryan McLeod and Corey Perry.
On the blue line, nothing changes from the last number of games. Mattias Ekholm and Evan Bouchard remained on the top pairing, Darnell Nurse and Brett Kulak were on the second, while the third featured Philip Broberg and Cody Ceci.

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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