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At the Rink blog

Oilers' Gagner cleared, to play against Maple Leafs

Tuesday, 10.29.2013 / 3:28 PM

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

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Oilers' Gagner cleared, to play against Maple Leafs

EDMONTON -- Sam Gagner is back in the lineup for the Edmonton Oilers, while Joffrey Lupul will be a game-time decision for the Toronto Maple Leafs as the two sides meet at Rexall Place on Tuesday.

Gagner has yet to play a game this season after breaking his jaw during the preseason, courtesy of the stick of Vancouver Canucks wing Zack Kassian. Gagner needed surgery to repair the damage done after Kassian's stick caught the Oilers center in the face.

Kassian received a five-game suspension for the Sept. 21 incident, while Gagner missed the first 13 games of the regular season.

"It's exciting to get back playing, I think the biggest thing for me is keeping the emotions in check and going out playing a simple, hard game," Gagner said. "I'm excited to be back."

Gagner will wear a specially designed cage to protect his jaw, and will skate between Nail Yakupov and Jordan Eberle on the Oilers' top line.

To make room for him in the middle, the Oilers moved center Mark Arcobello to the wing and sent Anton Lander back to their American Hockey League affiliate in Oklahoma City.

"Sam's been gnawing at the bone wanting to get back in, he had to wait for the doctor's clearance to get back in," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "We've got that now. We've had him right there as one of our top-two centers and we've obviously really missed that from the start of the season.

"He's a guy that brings leadership, character, he brings a work ethic and he brings some veteran savvy as well, he's been around the block a little bit. We need this guy and we need him every night. I'm just hopeful that he's up to speed very quickly."

Richard Bachman will get the start in goal for the Oilers, coming off a 47-save performance against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. Bachman was called up from Oklahoma City Saturday night after Devan Dubnyk awoke with a sore ankle.

Bachman was signed as a free agent this summer from the Dallas Stars and has 33 games of NHL experience.

"I thought he played a hell of a game in L.A.," Eakins said. "The great thing I liked about his game in L.A., as many pucks that he saw, it wasn't as though he was diving all over the net to make the saves. He made them look very, very easy. That shows you that he's in position, he's calm, he's collected."

Lupul, meanwhile, is hoping to be able to suit up for the Maple Leafs, having missed the previous two games with a foot injury. He took a puck in the foot against the Anaheim Ducks a week ago, but did take the morning skate with the club Tuesday.

Having grown up in Edmonton and played a season with his hometown team, Lupul is anxious to get into the lineup against the Oilers, particularly since he purchased 20 tickets for family and friends.

"He will skate in warm-up," Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said. "If he feels he's not ready to go after warm-up, then he won't. I can't tell you that he is or isn't right now."

If Lupul is able to play, Troy Bodie is expected to be the odd-man out for the Maple Leafs and Colton Orr will move down to play on their fourth line.

James Reimer will make his second consecutive start in goal for the Maple Leafs, having led the club to a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Here's a look at the way the two teams are expected to line up Tuesday.

OILERS

Nail YakupovSam GagnerJordan Eberle

David PerronRyan Nugent-HopkinsAles Hemsky

Ryan JonesBoyd GordonMark Arcobello

Luke GazdicWill ActonBen Eager

Andrew FerenceNick Schultz

Ladislav SmidJeff Petry

Anton BelovJustin Schultz

Richard Bachman

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Denis Grebeshkov

Injured: Taylor Hall (knee), Devan Dubnyk (ankle), Jesse Joensuu (back), Ryan Hamilton (knee), Ryan Smyth (groin), Tyler Pitlick (knee), Steve MacIntyre (knee), Corey Potter (back).

MAPLE LEAFS

James van RiemsdykNazem KadriPhil Kessel

Mason RaymondDave BollandDavid Clarkson

Carter Ashton - Jay McClement –– Colton Orr/Joffrey Lupul

Frazer McLarenTrevor SmithTroy Bodie

Carl GunnarssonDion Phaneuf

Morgan RiellyCody Franson

Jake GardinerPaul Ranger

James Reimer

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Troy Bodie, John-Michael Liles

Injured: Nikolai Kulemin (ankle), Mark Fraser (knee), Tyler Bozak (lower body), Joffrey Lupul (foot).

Quote of the Day

We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp