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At the Rink: Oilers at Jets

by Patrick Williams

WINNIPEG -- The Edmonton Oilers will attempt to grab their first win in 11 games Wednesday when they visit the Winnipeg Jets.

The Oilers have not won since Nov. 9, going 0-7-3 in that span. Coach Dallas Eakins unveiled a new look to the lineup for Wednesday in an attempt to shake up his dressing room.

Right wing Tyler Pitlick, who played his first NHL game of the season Monday in a 5-2 home loss against the Arizona Coyotes, will move to Edmonton's top line, with left wing Taylor Hall and center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

"[Pitlick] brought a lot of what we need right now," Eakins said after the Edmonton morning skate. "We've been asking our forwards to play a grittier game, a get-to-the-net game, and we've restructured the lines a little bit [and] we think will help us in a number of different ways."

Jordan Eberle will move to the second line and play the right side with center Leon Draisaitl and left wing Nail Yakupov. Eakins sent center Mark Arcobello from the second line to the fourth line, with left wing Luke Gazdic and right wing Steven Pinizzotto, and pushed center Boyd Gordon to the third line between left wing David Perron and right wing Teddy Purcell.

Eakins also altered his defensive pairings, putting Justin Schultz with captain Andrew Ference and Mark Fayne with Nikita Nikitin.

Ben Scrivens will start in goal for the Oilers.

"Every game is a fresh start," said Ference, who was critical of the team after the loss against Arizona. "It's a chance to come to the rink and turn the page on whatever happened the previous game, whether it was positive or negative, and it's a chance to get on with it.

"So I think for us, obviously we've had the negative games, the losses, this and that, but that's the great thing about hockey. It gives you an opportunity to start 0-0 the next night. Like any team in this League, I think it demands consistency, it demands really hard work."

The Jets will be without defenseman Toby Enstrom (lower body) after they placed him on injured reserve Tuesday, retroactive to Nov. 23. Winnipeg recalled defenseman Ben Chiarot from the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, and Chiarot will play on a pairing with Zach Bogosian.

Enstrom had practiced Tuesday but did not skate Wednesday. Defenseman Grant Clitsome (undisclosed) also did not participate in the morning skate and will not play.

Center Bryan Little, who was hit in the right knee by a shot against the Boston Bruins Nov. 28, will dress Wednesday.

Forward Adam Lowry will return to the Jets lineup after a one-game suspension and will replace right wing Anthony Peluso.

Winnipeg is coming off a five-day break between games, and coach Paul Maurice admitted that he is wary of his team not being sharp at the start against the Oilers.

"[Edmonton is] a better team than that last-10-game description," Maurice said. "They are looking for any one good thing to go for them in a game, and you want to make sure, especially out of the gate tonight, that we're not feeding that, where we're rusty and slow and then that's all the good that they need."

Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec will start for the Jets.

Here are the projected lineups:


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Tyler Pitlick

Nail Yakupov - Leon Draisaitl - Jordan Eberle

David Perron - Boyd Gordon - Teddy Purcell

Luke Gazdic - Mark Arcobello - Steven Pinizzotto

Oscar Klefbom - Jeff Petry

Nikita Nikitin - Mark Fayne

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz

Ben Scrivens

Viktor Fasth

Scratched: Keith Aulie

Injured: Benoit Pouliot (foot), Matt Hendricks (leg)


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Evander Kane - Mathieu Perreault - Dustin Byfuglien

Adam Lowry - Mark Scheifele - Michael Frolik

Chris Thorburn - Jim Slater - Matt Halischuk

Ben Chiarot - Zach Bogosian

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Adam Pardy - Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: TJ Galiardi, Anthony Peluso

Injured: Grant Clitsome (undisclosed), Toby Enstrom (lower body)

Status report: Aulie will be a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game. ... Chiarot played on game earlier this season, skating 10:47 on Nov. 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Who's hot: The Winnipeg power play has four goals in its past 12 chances and has scored in the past three games. The Jets had been scoreless in 23 opportunities before this streak.

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