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Drake Caggiula will play on Oilers top line with Connor McDavid

Edmonton seeking offensive spark in Game 5 against Sharks following shutout

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers changed their top line for Game 5 of their Western Conference First Round series against the San Jose Sharks at Rogers Place on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN, NBCSCA), following the worst loss in their Stanley Cup Playoff history.

Rookie Drake Caggiula will play with center Connor McDavid and right wing Leon Draisaitl, one game after San Jose won 7-0 at SAP Center to tie the best-of-7 series 2-2.

Left wing Patrick Maroon, who has been McDavid's regular left wing most of the season and does not have a point in the series, will move to a line with center Mark Letestu and right wing Zack Kassian.

"He's kind of like a Swiss army knife, he's played up and down the lineup on the power play, penalty kill, he plays all over the place," McDavid said of Caggiula after the morning skate Thursday. "He's a real good skater, very competitive, real good with the puck, someone I like playing with.


[RELATED: Complete Oilers vs. Sharks series coverage]



"I think he's a good skater, he can skate with us. You'll miss Patty down low on the forecheck and all that, but Drake has some areas that are better, I guess."

Caggiula, who had 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 60 regular-season games, said playing on McDavid's line means you always have to be alert.

"The puck can always be on your tape, and vice versa, he always wants the puck on his tape," Caggiula said. "You have to make sure to give him the puck when he wants it, especially when he's got the speed.

"He's done a good job of talking to me all season long. In situations like this where you're bumped up to his line, he's always been good about communicating with me, telling me different things of what he sees, and that helps a lot."

McDavid, the Art Ross Trophy winner with 100 points during the regular season, has two points in the series (one goal, one assist) and no points in the past two games. He has not gone more than two games without a point in his NHL career.

McDavid's line has faced tight checking from the Sharks and is almost always against the top defense pair of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun.

"You try and figure it out, it's not a big deal, I've played against them enough times to know what to expect," McDavid said.

Oilers coach Todd McLellan said that winning more faceoffs could help McDavid get more favorable matchups.

"It's easier said than done," McLellan said. "As soon as the puck's dropped, they win the faceoff and out comes the other pair. So if we could win more faceoffs, it would give us the opportunity."

McDavid is 13-for-35 in faceoffs (37.1 percent), and the Sharks have won 56.1 percent of the faceoffs in the series.

 "They're a well-structured team," McLellan said. "They're confident enough to have their fourth line and (Chris) Tierney on the ice against that (McDavid) group. They feel they can check with any of their four lines so that if they don't get the back-end match, they're certainly comfortable in the front. It's called playoff hockey; you don't get away from everything.

"That's why down the stretch, Connor's line played against (Ryan) Kesler and some of those others, just to prepare him for this type of two weeks."

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