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At the Rink blog

Dubnyk starts for Oilers, Yakupov back in lineup

Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 5:03 PM

By Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Dubnyk starts for Oilers, Yakupov back in lineup

SAN JOSE -- The last time Edmonton Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk started a game was Friday, when he had a 27-save shutout against the Calgary Flames at ScotiaBank Saddledome.

Six days and three games later, Dubnyk will try to continue that momentum Thursday against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.

"You're not going to have that feeling rolling off like we played last night, obviously," Dubnyk said after the Oilers' morning skate. "It's not going to have that. But at the same time that's the last game I played. When the puck drops [Thursday], I'll just be working off that good feeling. I had some good days in practice. Just continue that confidence. You can't think too much because every game's different. You don't know how the game's going to go. Anytime you can use any sort of advantage to your favor, and this is an opportunity to do that, I'll certainly try."

Ilya Bryzgalov started the past two games for Edmonton, a 4-3 shootout loss against the Philadelphia Flyers and a 4-3 overtime road loss against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Dubnyk will face a Sharks team that is 14-1-3 at home and will be trying to get back on track after a 6-3 road loss against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

"Obviously they're one of the best teams in the League," Dubnyk said of the Sharks. "They're big, strong and they shoot the puck a lot. I know they're going to be going to the net and firing lots of pucks at the net so it's going to be my job to make sure I'm staying at the top of my crease and fighting to see pucks and fighting on rebounds because that's what these guys do so well. They shoot and they crash the net and they just try to overwhelm you. We know they're going to come out hard, especially here. This is a tough building to play in, especially for the first 10 minutes. That's going to be an important time."

After being a healthy scratch against Phoenix, Nail Yakupov will return to Edmonton's lineup and skate on the second line, with center Sam Gagner and right wing Jordan Eberle.

"[Yakupov] has got to get his game up to speed," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "He's got to play a simple game, get the puck on the net, go to the net and use his linemates accordingly."

Sharks goalie Antti Niemi will start against Edmonton despite allowing five goals on 34 shots and being pulled late in the second period against Anaheim. Coach Todd McLellan said his team could have had "Ken Dryden and anybody else you want in net" at Anaheim and still would have lost badly.

"I don't think I'm going to start with the goaltender. I'm going to start with the 20 guys that put the uniform on and look for a complete game," McLellan said. "He is part of it, yes. The defensemen are part of it, the net play's part of it, the commitment level to shot lanes is part of it, the forecheck, the third- and fourth-line players, the top-end guys. I can go on and on, so to start that by saying [Niemi] has got to get going isn't fair to him or to the rest of the group."

Sharks forward Tommy Wingels (upper body) will miss his second straight game.

"He put the skates on [Thursday] and didn't feel good," McLellan said.

Here are the projected lineups for San Jose and Edmonton:

SHARKS

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Matt Nieto

Bracken Kearns - Freddie Hamilton - Tyler Kennedy

James Sheppard - Andrew Desjardins - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Jason Demers

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Brad Stuart - Justin Braun

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Scott Hannan, John McCarthy

Injured: Tommy Wingels (upper body), Martin Havlat (lower body) Tomas Hertl (right knee surgery), Raffi Torres (knee surgery), Adam Burish (back surgery)

OILERS

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - David Perron

Nail Yakupov - Sam Gagner - Jordan Eberle

Ryan Smyth - Boyd Gordon - Ales Hemsky

Luke Gazdic - Anton Lander - Jesse Joensuu

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz

Nick Schultz - Jeff Petry

Martin Marincin - Anton Belov

Devan Dubnyk

Ilya Bryzgalov

Scratched: Corey Potter

Injured: Mark Arcobello (ribs), Ryan Jones (head), Philip Larsen (illness)

Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff