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BLOG: Nurse moves up a pairing

Darnell Nurse could enter the Oilers top two pairings on Saturday

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse may see a hike in his ice time against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

The rearguard skated alongside Kris Russell Thursday at practice and Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan alluded to Nurse's shift from the third pairing to the second.

"His ability to transport the puck through the neutral zone has been fairly good," McLellan said. "I'd like to see more come off of it."

Nurse recorded an assist in the Oilers 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. McLellan elaborated on the possibility of moving the 6-foot-4, 221-pound blueliner up the depth chart.

"He's defended fairly well and quite frankly, he's graduating up because somebody is graduating down (Matt Benning)."

Nurse was previously paired with Eric Gryba on the Oilers third defensive unit. Yohann Auvitu could draw in Saturday as Matt Benning may come out of the lineup.

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