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Round 2

Oilers could reunite top line against Ducks

Patrick Maroon, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl may skate together in Game 1 against Anaheim

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers left wing Patrick Maroon was reunited with center Connor McDavid and forward Leon Draisaitl on the No. 1 line at practice Monday in preparation for the Western Conference Second Round against the Anaheim Ducks.

Game 1 of the best-of-7 series is at Honda Center on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).


[RELATED: Complete Oilers vs. Ducks series coverage]


"Wherever I play I'm happy," Maroon said. "I'm one of those guys, which is good, that I can play up and down the lineup. If I do play with Connor and Leon, nothing is going to change for me. I've been there for the last 35 games of the season, so we know what we're capable of and we know what we can do."

Maroon had his most productive NHL season playing mostly with McDavid and Draisaitl, with 42 points (27 goals, 15 assists) in 81 games.

Video: SJS@EDM, Gm5: Maroon nets rebound for opening tally

The unit was broken up early in the Western Conference First Round series against the San Jose Sharks with Maroon moving down to play with Mark Letestu and Zack Kassian on the third line. Maroon had one goal in six games in the series. McDavid had four points (two goals, two assists) and Draisaitl had three points (one goal, two assists).

"San Jose shut us down and that happens, and [coach] Todd [McLellan] had to make a decision to change the offense," Maroon said. "That's fine. There's going to be times when you're going to go through series where you change lines and it's not because you're playing bad, it's sometimes because the chemistry had a different feel and there are different matchups. [McLellan] wanted more speed on top with [Drake Caggiula] and [Caggiula] did a really good job."

McLellan is expected to reunite the top line against the Ducks which had success in the regular season.

McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer with 100 points (30 goals, 70 assists) and had seven points (two goals, five assists) in five games against the Ducks this season. Draisaitl had 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) including six goals in five games against the Ducks.

Video: SJS@EDM, Gm2: McDavid steals puck, nets SHG

"I wouldn't read anything into today's practice by any means," McLellan said. "It was only a 15-20 minute skate just to get the [stuff] out of our legs and get going again. It was nothing structurally with lines. Could [Patrick] Maroon end up back there? Of course he could. We have to take a look at the health of our team, plan for Game 1 and make changes as we go."

Anaheim swept the Calgary Flames in the first round and presents a different challenge to Edmonton than San Jose.

"They're a big, heavy team and they're going to bring it every chance they get," Maroon said. "If you have the puck, they're going to hit you. It's going to be a fun series to play in."

The Oilers expect the Ducks to line up center Ryan Kesler against McDavid, like they did in the five regular-season games against Edmonton, in which the Oilers went 3-2-0.

McLellan said Maroon (6-foot-3, 227 pounds) excels playing against bigger, more physical opponents like the Ducks.

Video: EDM@SJS, Gm6: Draisaitl goes five-hole on break

"That's his strength, of course he does," McLellan said. "He's big and strong and rolls around and is good at the net. The grinding heavy game is a better game for [Maroon] than the speed game, so naturally it would be a better fit for him if that was that type of game."

Oilers defensemen Oscar Klefbom did not practice Monday, but McLellan said he will be ready for Game 1. Klefbom sat out the third period of Game 6 against San Jose with the flu.

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