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Oilers' Hall questionable, Nilsson to start vs. Stars

by Steve Hunt

OILERS (0-2-0) at STARS (1-1-0)


DALLAS -- Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall contracted an illness late Monday night, putting his status in doubt for the Oilers' game Tuesday against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

"He's ill, not feeling well and he's questionable for the evening," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said.

McLellan said he and his staff will monitor Hall throughout the rest of the day before determining if he skates in pregame warmups.

Should Hall be unavailable, McLellan will do some line shuffling. Left wing Benoit Pouliot will move from the second to the first line alongside center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and right wing Teddy Purcell.

"[Hall] is obviously a big part of our team and has been for a long time now," Nugent-Hopkins said. "He produces a ton of offense for us too. We got a group in here now that guys can pick up the slack for him."

Left wing Lauri Korpikoski would likely move from the third to the second line to take Pouliot's usual spot alongside center Connor McDavid and right wing Nail Yakupov.

Edmonton's third line could consist of left wing Rob Klinkhammer, center Anton Lander and right wing Anton Slepyshev.

The fourth line of left wing Matt Hendricks, center Mark Letestu and right wing Luke Gazdic will not change.

Goalie Anders Nilsson was first off the ice at the morning skate and will make his first start of the season for Edmonton.

"Anders has played very well in [preseason], our team played well around him," McLellan said. "There's no guarantee that will happen again, but we believe it can."

McLellan appears to be sticking with the same defensive pairs from the 2-0 loss at the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Dallas coach Lindy Ruff is also giving a goaltender, Kari Lehtonen, his first start of the season Tuesday after Antti Niemi started Dallas' first two games.

"Just to really see [Lehtonen] play well," Ruff said. "I think he's been working on some changes in his game. For me, it's getting used to those changes."

Ruff has completely shuffled his lines following a 6-3 loss at the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Right wing Patrick Eaves has moved from the fourth to the first line alongside left wing Jamie Benn and center Tyler Seguin.

Left wing Antoine Roussel moves from the third to the second line, where he will skate alongside center Jason Spezza and right wing Patrick Sharp.

The third line consists of left wing Mattias Janmark, who had been centering that line, alongside center Cody Eakin and right wing Ales Hemsky.

Dallas' fourth line consists of left wing Travis Moen, center Vernon Fiddler and right wing Colton Sceviour.

Right wing Valeri Nichushkin, the 10th pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, will likely be a healthy scratch against Edmonton.

"Well, I think we need more (from him)," Ruff said of Nichushkin. "We're in a different place right now and I think when he's on the ice, he's been thinking too much. I think he's been a second slow with some of his decisions."

Ruff is sticking with the same defensive pairs from Dallas' first two games.

Here are the projected lineups:


Benoit PouliotRyan Nugent-HopkinsTeddy Purcell

Lauri KorpikoskiConnor McDavidNail Yakupov

Rob KlinkhammerAnton LanderAnton Slepyshev

Matt HendricksMark LetestuLuke Gazdic

Oscar KlefbomJustin Schultz

Andrej SekeraMark Fayne

Brandon DavidsonEric Gryba

Anders Nilsson

Cam Talbot

Injured: Jordan Eberle (shoulder), Taylor Hall (illness)

Scratched: Griffin Reinhart


Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Eaves

Antoine RousselJason SpezzaPatrick Sharp

Mattias JanmarkCody EakinAles Hemsky

Travis MoenVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Jyrki JokipakkaJordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Injured: none

Scratched: Patrik Nemeth, Valeri Nichushkin, Jamie Oleksiak

Status report: Given whether or not Hall is able to go, McLellan said he could dress seven defensemen for the game on Tuesday. … Sceviour is likely to make his season debut after being a healthy scratch for Dallas' first two games.

Who's hot: Janmark has goals in each of his first two NHL games.

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