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Oilers' Lander could return against Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg / NHL.com

OILERS (7-13-1) at HURRICANES (7-10-4)

TV: SN360, SNW, FS-CR

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McLellan hinted that he could make a couple lineup changes when his team meets the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.

Forward Anton Lander, who has zero points in 20 games, was a healthy scratch when Edmonton lost 1-0 against the Washington Capitals on Monday night. He could be back against the Hurricanes. McLellan was careful to point out that Lander was not being punished when he sat out for the first time this season.

"He's a good, hard player, he cares about his teammates, he wants to win," the Edmonton coach said. "In his situation, pulling him out and letting him watch, sometimes you figure out when you do have more time (to make plays). When he does get back in the lineup, I hope he used his time that way rather than thinking it's a punishment."

The Oilers are playing the opener of a four-game road trip. Even though the game features two seven-win teams, McLellan said he expects a high-level performance.

"I'm anxious to see our group play this game tonight," he said. "There's nights we play a team that's maybe in first place. Tonight we could be tricked into looking at the standings, but Carolina is a better team, I believe, than their record shows, as are we, so it should be a good game for us to play."

The Hurricanes are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, their fourth overtime loss in the past six games (1-1-4).

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters was asked about his young defensive corps, which currently features two 21 year olds (Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin) and an 18 year old (Noah Hanifin). After expressing his satisfaction with his three rookies, Peters offered a realistic — and humorous — take on the nightly challenges that go along with learning the NHL game on the blue line.

"Some of those guys are going to have to play the rush against (Taylor) Hall tonight," Peters said. "His jersey is going to be flapping and he's going to be coming a million miles an hour. And (Leon Draisaitl) is going to be coming down the middle. It's the National Hockey League; it's the best league in the world. So man up."

After getting a chuckle from the media, Peters shrugged and added, "There's nowhere to hide. Let's go."

Here are the projected lineups:

OILERS

Taylor Hall - Leon Draisaitl - Teddy Purcell

Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Matt Hendricks - Mark Letestu - Nail Yakupov

Lauri Korpikoski - Anton Lander - Iiro Pakarinen

Darnell Nurse - Andrej Sekera

Oscar Klefbom - Mark Fayne

Brandon Davidson - Eric Gryba

Anders Nilsson

Cam Talbot

Injured: Connor McDavid (broken clavicle), Justin Schultz (back), Rob Klinkhammer (undisclosed), Luke Gazdic (undisclosed)

Scratched: Griffin Reinhart, Andrew Ference

HURRICANES

Eric Staal - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Andrej Nestrasil

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Kris Versteeg

Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Chris Terry

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk

John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin - Jaccob Slavin

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Injured: Nathan Gerbe (lower body), Ryan Murphy (concussion), James Wisniewski (knee)

Scratched: Michal Jordan

Status report: McLellan indicated he might make a lineup change among the defenseman, but he said Schultz is not yet ready to return. … Murphy wore a non-contact jersey for his first skate with the Hurricanes since sustaining a concussion.

Who's hot: Hall has three goals and eight points in Edmonton's past six games. ... Faulk has a six-game scoring streak (3-4-7). .. Pesce has two goals and an assist in his past three games.

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