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Oilers' Eberle to play against Canadiens

by Arpon Basu /

MONTREAL -- Jordan Eberle caused some concern by missing the past two practices but he will be in uniform Tuesday when his Edmonton Oilers face the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Eberle skated on a line with center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and left wing Nail Yakupov at the morning skate Tuesday, and coach Dallas Eakins said he hopes Eberle's two linemates will benefit from his presence.

"That's been the history here with [Eberle] through training camp and the early part of the season, that he's been able to make the people around him better," Eakins said. "So he's going to be a key component in helping Nail along the way, and [Nugent-Hopkins] as well. [Nugent-Hopkins] got off to a good start and fell off a little bit, so we're hoping he has continued success as well."

The Oilers need that big line to produce more than ever.

Edmonton announced Tuesday that Taylor Hall would miss four weeks with an injury to his left knee, adding his name to an injured-reserve list that also includes center Sam Gagner (jaw), left wing Ryan Smyth (groin), left wing Steve MacIntyre (knee) and defenseman Corey Potter (back). In addition, left wing Jesse Joensuu will miss his fourth game with a suspected back injury and Ryan Hamilton will miss his seventh game with a knee injury, though neither is on injured reserve.

The Oilers called up forwards Tyler Pitlick and Ben Eager from Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League and both will play against Montreal, with Pitlick making his NHL debut.

In the absences of Hall and Smyth, there will be more ice time to go around and Eakins said he is looking forward to seeing who will take advantage of it.

"There are guys who are going to get some extra ice who have been looking for it, who have told me, 'Hey, I can handle the ice, I can do this, I can do that.' Well, all right, let's see," Eakins said. "The time is now for them to grab that opportunity."

A similar opportunity is presenting itself with the Canadiens, who also are missing a number of important players.

Daniel Briere (concussion), Max Pacioretty (hamstring), Brandon Prust (shoulder) and George Parros (concussion) are injured among the forwards, while the Montreal defense is missing Alexei Emelin (knee), Douglas Murray (upper body) and Davis Drewiske (shoulder).

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien will have two AHL call-ups in his lineup, with Mike Blunden and Patrick Holland slotted in on the fourth line. Like Pitlick, this game will mark Holland's NHL debut. The Canadiens also called up defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from the AHL after he was sent down Saturday, and he will play in place of fellow rookie Jarred Tinordi on Montreal's third pairing.

Carey Price will start in goal for Montreal against Devan Dubnyk for the Oilers.

Here is what the lineups should look like Tuesday:


Nail Yakupov - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Ales Hemsky - Mark Arcobello - David Perron

Tyler Pitlick - Boyd Gordon - Ben Eager

Luke Gazdic - Will Acton - Ryan Jones

Andrew Ference - Nick Schultz

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry

Anton Belov - Justin Schultz

Devan Dubnyk

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Denis Grebeshkov

Injured: Taylor Hall (knee), Sam Gagner (jaw), Ryan Smyth (groin), Steve MacIntyre (knee), Corey Potter (back), Jesse Joensuu (back), Ryan Hamilton (knee)


Alex Galchenyuk - Lars Eller - Brendan Gallagher

Michael Bournival - Tomas Plekanec - Brian Gionta

Rene Bourque - David Desharnais - Travis Moen

Patrick Holland - Ryan White - Mike Blunden

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban

Josh Gorges - Raphael Diaz

Nathan Beaulieu - Francis Bouillon

Carey Price

Peter Budaj

Scratched: Jarred Tinordi

Injured: Daniel Briere (concussion), Max Pacioretty (hamstring), Brandon Prust (shoulder), George Parros (concussion), Alexei Emelin (knee), Douglas Murray (upper body), Davis Drewiske (shoulder)

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