Nurse Kane Game 3 TONIGHT bug

EDMONTON -- Injuries may force the Edmonton Oilers to dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Florida Panthers in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; CBC, TVAS, SN, ESPN+, ABC). 

Edmonton is dealing with injuries to forward Evander Kane and defenseman Darnell Nurse. Coach Kris Knoblauch would not divulge the lineup following an optional morning skate. 

Florida leads the best-of-7 series 2-0. 

"You're going to have to wait to find out," Knoblauch said. 

Kane is not expected to play because of a sports hernia injury, which he disclosed prior to the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and has prevented him from practicing. He was on the ice briefly prior to practice Wednesday, was seen wincing after shooting the puck and left following a brief conversation with Knoblauch. He did not participate in the optional skate. 

Nurse sustained an undisclosed injury in Game 2 on Monday after taking a hit in the corner from Panthers forward Evan Rodrigues at 8:16 of the first period. Nurse did not play the rest of the period and came out for one shift in the second and two in the third. 

Though Knoblauch said Wednesday that Nurse would be ready to play because of the medical treatment he received, it is likely Cody Ceci will return as the seventh defenseman. Ceci was a healthy scratch in Game 2 and replaced by Vincent Desharnais. 

Knoblauch said he and the coaching staff have to consider how effective a player can be if he is not 100 percent and whether he is worth putting in the lineup.   

"That's mostly a conversation we have with our medical staff," Knoblauch said. "Our doctors and T.D. (head athletic therapist T.D. Forss) are telling us exactly what's going on, is it going to get worse, can it be better? Then we take that information and if he's running at 75 percent and we have another guy at 100 percent, then we make those decisions." 

Game 3 will be the Oilers' 21st game of the playoffs. They're in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2006 after defeating the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference First Round (five games), the Vancouver Canucks in the second round (seven) and the Dallas Stars in the conference final (six). 

"At this time of year, I don't know if anyone is 100 percent," defenseman Mattias Ekholm said Wednesday. "Maybe some guys are, but most guys have something going on. It's that time of year where you have to push through."

In the 2022 playoffs, Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl sprained an ankle in the first round against the Kings and played through it into the conference final, where Edmonton was swept by the Colorado Avalanche. 

"It's just really hard to recover because you play every other night and there's not a lot of time for rest," Draisaitl said. "There are a lot of injuries and a lot of things that are going on and the only thing that helps is rest and you just don't get that. 

"It's hard and I have a lot of respect for everyone in the playoffs, everyone in the League, what everyone plays through. I've been there, unfortunately, and it's really hard, but it's things you do for the love of the game." 

Game 4 is here Saturday. 

"Everyone is dealing with different things and you kind of manage accordingly," Oilers defenseman Brett Kulak said. "Sometimes guys are missing practice because the body feels better the next day if you do that. I think it comes down to the individual and that's why we have a really good medical staff on board. They're an elite staff and it helps a lot. They know how to treat each player and how to manage them."

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