The Oilers rolled out a new look to their forward lines on Thursday at practice in Detroit. The movement up front is an attempt to spark production after the Oilers offence has sputtered in recent games. They were shut out in Washington and managed just one power play goal against Carolina in a 4-1 loss to the Canes last night.
The Oilers broke up the top six, with Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl sticking together along with new right winger Jordan Eberle. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was centring Lauri Korpikoski and Teddy Purcell on the other top line with Benoit Pouliot dropping down with Mark Letestu and Matt Hendricks.
Some of the tweaks were made necessary by the injury to Nail Yakupov. However, the Pouliot-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle line didn’t produce like Head Coach Todd McLellan would have hoped at Carolina.
“That line had a tough night,” said McLellan. “The empty-netter is an empty-netter so they were -3, they were on for every goal. Some of them had absolutely nothing to do with being scored on. They just happened to be on the ice. Others had an involvement. I didn’t think they were real strong defensively, but certainly not offensively as well. They didn’t create anything, they didn’t get to the net, they didn’t get second chances. Power-play wise, they were OK but that’s a couple nights in a row so we’ve got to fix it.”