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BLOG: Oilers need strong fourth-line play to continue

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers fourth line drew some attention for their play in the home opener on Thursday night. At the beginning of the game, they were the line generating the most time in the offensive zone. As the game continued, the Oilers began to attack in waves with the rest of their forward lines.

Despite the loss, the play of the fourth line was one of several bright spots for the Oilers. Matt Hendricks, Boyd Gordon and Jesse Joensuu showed they have the ability to be a difference-making, energy-creating trio.

I asked Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins what he thinks their impact could be on tonight’s game in Vancouver, considering that they played “pretty well” against Calgary. My assessment of their play was a little too conservative for the head coach.

“You’re hard (on them),” Eakins said. “Pretty well? I thought they were excellent. I like that though, that’s good that you’re hard on them. I thought they played a big, heavy game. I thought that Jesse continued where he left off in training camp. Boyd and Hendy gave us really good games, they turned the tide a couple of times for us in the game with big shifts. They were able to get zone time and then they were able to do some heavy lifting in our zone on those face-offs. Again, it has to be every night for those guys. The one thing I was really encouraged with last game is, with our depth up front, it may have been the first game I’ve coached where all four lines were in the double digits and that bodes well for us over the course of the season.”

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