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BLOG: Third line a matchup problem

by Chris Wescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

The Oilers are now fielding a deep lineup that has three lines contributing offensively. The top two lines are touted for their blend of skill and size, but don't underestimate the third line Head Coach Todd McLellan has deployed as of late.

David Desharnais has shown an ability to win draws, while Benoit Pouliot has returned from injury with some pep and energy to his game, and Zack Kassian provides the grit, along with his fast play of late.

"Davy has been winning a lot of draws and making some good passes," said Pouliot. "Kass just skates all the time and he's always on the rush so it helps out a lot. Things have been good."

That mix of forwards has led to results on the score sheet for the Oilers - including two goals in back-to-back games for Pouliot - and provides matchup problems for opponents moving forward if they keep it up.

"It's important to have a third line that can click," said McLellan. "Often, that's where the mismatch comes. The top two lines play against each other and if you ever get ahead in that situation you likely win. The deal-breaker or game-breaker can often be that third line. To have one now that seems to be producing, they have some chemistry, Desharnais is starting to fit in well with the group and certainly those linemates that he has, and there's a nice mix.

"Desharnais has the patience and the vision to hold onto the puck, Kass provides some physicality and Pou is going to the net now. We're fortunate to have them."

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