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Posted On Saturday, 03.01.2014 / 3:18 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers, Flames seek offense in Battle of Alberta

EDMONTON -- Goals have been hard to come by for the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames of late.

Both teams were shut out in their previous game, heading into the latest edition of the Battle of Alberta on Saturday night at Rexall Place.

The Oilers lost 3-0 against the Minnesota Wild, while the Flames were blanked 2-0 by the Los Angeles Kings.

"You're certainly hoping it was just rust, the way we played the last game," Oilers left wing David Perron said. "We'll take it as that, move forward and try to have a good one [Saturday].

"It's always fun playing against Calgary. It's a team we're trying to catch in the standings right now and they probably don't want to go where we are right now. So we have to get the two points."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 3:28 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers to play Hemsky at left wing alongside Gagner

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers may not admit to showcasing Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky, but the two will be on display Thursday against the Minnesota Wild.

Hemsky will move up to play left wing on the Oilers' second line alongside Gagner and Jordan Eberle. It's the first time this season Hemsky has played left wing.

"We've been able to develop some chemistry and feed off each other," Gagner said. "He's a guy that likes the puck on the fly. The left wing is going to be a little different for him. When he gets that speed going, though, he's an amazing player. It should be a fun night."

Both Gagner and Hemsky have been rumored to be on the move as the March 5 NHL Trade Deadline approaches.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.29.2014 / 3:32 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Eakins seeing gradual improvement in Oilers

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers are putting a two-game win streak on the line Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks.

The Oilers won two straight for the fourth time this season with a 4-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. They've only managed one three-game win streak this season.

"You can feel it starting to tilt the last couple of games leading up to getting out of that [losing] streak, where the chances-against weren't so high," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "I thought we exited our zone much better the last couple of games, our goaltending was excellent. Any time you can exit that zone cleanly it adds up to more offensive-zone time, which has been critical."

Prior to beating the Nashville Predators and the Canucks, the Oilers had been on a six-game winless skid.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.26.2014 / 2:49 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers to face Predators without injured captain

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference will miss his first game of the season Sunday against the Nashville Predators. Ference sustained a head injury in a 4-3 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday night.

"He took a shot in the head and they're evaluating him," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "He's going to be greatly missed. He's our captain and competes extremely hard every night. He's being playing against the other team's top lines a lot. That's a big hole to fill and the whole group will have to pick up his minutes and what he brings."

The Oilers are also still without right wing Ales Hemsky, who is recovering from a bone bruise in his foot after blocking a shot Jan. 14 against the Dallas Stars. Hemsky has been practicing with the team, but is still not cleared to play and will miss his fifth consecutive game.

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Posted On Friday, 01.24.2014 / 3:26 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Coyotes' Hanzal, Oilers' Yakupov likely to return

EDMONTON -- Martin Hanzal and Nail Yakupov are each expected to draw back into his respective lineup Friday night when the Edmonton Oilers host the Phoenix Coyotes.

Hanzal has been out of the Coyotes' lineup for the past two games with a lower-body injury. The Coyotes have lost both games without him.

"It looks like he'll be back in," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "It'll come down to game time, but he practiced all right and there were no indications that he took a step back, so that's a good sign.

"He's a big guy that plays in all situations. He's a big, hard guy to play against and obviously him and Radim Vrbata have teamed up to be a good pair for us. It's a really noticeable difference when he's out of our lineup. When he steps back in, and continues to play the way that he has been the last couple of months, it will be a big positive for us."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.21.2014 / 4:02 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canucks coping without Henrik Sedin, Tortorella

EDMONTON -- The Vancouver Canucks will be missing their captain and coach Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers.

For the first time in nearly 10 years, Henrik Sedin will not suit up for Vancouver, bringing a consecutive games streak of 679 to an end.

Sedin is out with a rib injury. His brother, Daniel Sedin, is the only member of the Canucks to know what it's like not having him in the lineup.

"I'm the only guy in this room that has ever played a game without him," Daniel Sedin said. "All the other guys have never played a game without him. It's going to be different, but like with any other injury, you need guys to step up and that's what we're looking for [Tuesday].

"Everyone knows what he can do and he's going to be missed, but other guys have to step up and fill that spot."

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Posted On Friday, 01.10.2014 / 4:06 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers give new look with Gagner at right wing

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner will play right wing Friday night against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Gagner will skate on the Oilers first line with left wing Taylor Hall and center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. It's the first time this season Gagner has not played at center.

"It's a lot of different things, it's not only Sam," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "We look at how we want to match up [Friday]. I think it also allows us to have two centermen on that line and it allows them to take the draws on their strong side.

"Sam has played wing in the past and had some success there. He was very open to the idea, that's something I talked to him about, just to get a feel if he was hesitant or not. He was all-in on it, and I think it just gives us a different look. Now we firmly have three lines that can do some damage. Each line, the way it's set up, should be able to score."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 4:42 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - Road to Sochi blog

Calls bring different news for Bouwmeester, Hall

EDMONTON -- St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall each received a phone call from Hockey Canada on Tuesday morning.

One brought good news, the other bad as the Canadian Olympic team selections were announced in Toronto.

Bouwmeester, who was left off the Olympic team four years ago in Vancouver, will be on the squad heading to Sochi, Russia in February. Hall will not.

"It's pretty exciting stuff," Bouwmeester said. "It wasn't something I was thinking about or worried about, there are a lot of real good players. I've been on the other side, looking in and it's not a lot of fun.

"It's a great opportunity and it's something that if you have the chance to be a part of, it's something special and it's something you want to take advantage of."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 3:30 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers hope for partial repeat of past game vs. Blues

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers took it on the chin last time they hosted the St. Louis Blues.

Despite being shut out 6-0 on Dec. 21, there were positives in the loss to take into the return engagement Tuesday at Rexall Place.

The Oilers outshot the Blues 14-5 in the first period of that game before the wheels fell off in the second and third periods.

"We need to stick with that game plan that we had in that first period right through the game," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "We've run into that a few times this season where we had the game plan going, everything is great and maybe we haven't scored or maybe even the other team is up 1-0.

"We have a tendency to say, 'That's not working,' but it is if we're out-chancing them terribly and we're spending very little time in our zone. We have to just do this for the full 60 minutes, and it may take until the 57th minute to break them but you can't come off it."

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Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 2:51 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Eberle returns to Oilers' top line

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers (13-26-5) are shaking up their top line in an effort to snap a four-game losing skid.

Jordan Eberle returns to the Oilers' lineup Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning (25-12-4) at Rexall Place and will skate alongside Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the top line.

Eberle missed the 5-2 loss against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday with a knee injury he sustained the previous game in a collision with San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture.

"I just tried to step up and hit him and I felt my knee tweak a bit," Eberle said. "I think because of the adrenaline of the game I felt alright to play [and finish the game]. The next day was when it hit me and it was really sore. It's tough to sit out, but I'm happy to be back."

Prior to the injury, Eberle had been playing on the Oilers second line with Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov.

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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday