LOS ANGELES, CA- The Oilers are searching for their first win of the season, and they’ll try to achieve that tonight against the Stanley Cup Champions in Los Angeles.
“Every game is simple for us,” Oilers winger Nail Yakupov said. “You’ve got to get the two points, it doesn’t matter who you play against. We’re going to fight for the two points, we need that first win. We’re going to work hard and I think the last two games we played real well. We’ve just got to keep going, take our little mistakes away and I think we’ll be good.”
The Oilers seventh-overall pick in 2013 will make his NHL debut tonight against the Kings. Darnell Nurse slides into the lineup for defenceman Jeff Petry.
“The biggest thing for me is to go out there and live out one of my dreams,” Nurse said. “I’m just looking forward to making the most of this opportunity, go out there and work as hard as I can to help the team get two points.”
For Nurse, it’s all about jumping right in with no hesitation.
“When you ease yourself into it that’s where you get yourself hurt, not helping the team out. It’s just doing what has made me successful to get to this point.”
Head Coach Dallas Eakins doesn’t think there will be an issue with Nurse jumping in.
“It’s hard just to stick your toe in the water sometimes, either you’re going to jump in or you’re not,” Eakins said. “I know Darnell is really excited about it. He’s put on a ton of strength over the summer, his game has come a long way and what better way than to have a challenge in front of you? I think it’s going to be good for him to get in and to see what this is about. He’s a highly motivated kid so I expect him to have a lot of passion tonight.”
Three players did not practice on Monday in El Segundo, CA. Two of those players returned to the ice on Tuesday in LA, but two of the three will not play against the Kings. Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Teddy Purcell did not practice with the team on Monday, but Nugent-Hopkins and Purcell returned Tuesday.
Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins will be held out of the lineup in Los Angeles.
“Nuge and Ebs are not good enough to go,” Eakins said. “We held Ebs right off the ice, he’s still day-to-day. Nuge was able to skate but he got hit funny, got twisted and he’s still day-to-day as well. We’re going to hold him out, precautionary. Purcell looks like he can play, so we’re encouraged by that.”
Jeff Petry was chosen as the defenceman to sit against the Kings. The move allows the Oilers to play Darnell Nurse.
Eakins explained the decision after the morning skate.
“He hasn’t had a training camp,” he said. “His game is coming and he continues to get better, we’re encouraged by that. When we looked at the makeup of our D, we need a couple of guys for the power play. We’ve had a defenceman sitting around not playing, we wanted to get him in. And when you started going over the pieces needed in your lineup, when it comes to special teams or certain match ups, it ended up being Petry. I highly doubt it would have been him if he would have had a training camp and wasn’t just that little bit behind right now. We’re encouraged by Petry’s rehab, his commitment to getting better and commitment to getting up to speed. It’s a hard decision, but at the same time it just made sense across the board.”