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BLOG: Young players step up

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

When Martin Marincin scored his first NHL goal, assisted by Andrew Miller and Anton Lander, Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson probably had flashbacks to Oklahoma City and his days as head coach there. Nelson coached all three of those players in OKC last season and the start of this one.

If he didn’t have flashbacks then, he definitely did when Marincin, Lander and Oscar Klefbom were on the ice attempting to kill off a Colorado 5-on-3 power play. With Andrew Ference and Boyd Gordon already sitting out tonight’s game, Mark Fayne and Matt Hendricks both went down to injury. The situation made it so the younger players on the roster had to step up, and they did so by helping the Oilers win 4-3.

“We had a young group,” Nelson said. “They played hard for each other. I had to shake my head there on that 5-on-3 because I had Anton, Klefbom and Marincin (out there) and that’s who we had on the 5-on-3 down in OK City at the start of this year. The young guys played well.

Miller recorded his first two NHL assists tonight, helping his linemates (Lander and Taylor Hall) turn in a good night.

Andrew Miller had a great game,” Nelson said. “I thought he was moving his feet. He had a couple assists. Anton, that whole line played outstanding: Hall, Anton and Millsy. We had a lot of good efforts from our younger players and that’s great to see. I think it’s going to give them confidence moving forward.”

Nelson’s familiarity with the multiple players on the roster who have played under him in the AHL seems to lead to confidence between player and coach.

“I think it’s a big advantage because, from working with them in OKC, you develop confidence in the players because you’ve had them for a number of years,” said Nelson. “So I think it’s a lot easier for me as a coach to say, ‘Ok, I can use this guy in this situation,’ because I’ve seen them handle it before. I had no problems putting Andrew Miller (out there) in the last minute and 40 seconds. He deserved it as well, he earned it. It was a good game from our young guys. I thought they really took charge. When Colorado kept coming and they had some good opportunities, it was good to have (Ben Scrivens) step up. But our young guys played well.”

There was no word on the status of the Oilers injured veterans, immediately following the game.

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