Foegele draws back in as Oilers shuffle lines ahead of Game 1

“I know what I need to do to stay. Every game is a new opportunity. You do have to have a short memory,” said Foegele

Article content

Gentlemen and ladies of Oil Country, your scratches and selections.

Evander Kane will be on left wing Saturday on Leon Draisaitl’s line, practising Friday for the first time since he was hurt hitting Alex Petrovic in Game 6 against Dallas. Might be his ongoing sports hernia, might be something else. All we know is Kane will be trying to torment Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk in Game 1 as the Edmonton Oilers’ winger did in the Calgary playoff series in 2022.

Advertisement 2

Article content

On other fronts:

Warren Foegele, who made some defensive errors that got him yanked from the line-up, is back in after sitting for the last three. He’ll be on left-wing on a line with Ryan McLeod and Corey Perry. It’s either third or fourth line.

Adam Henrique, everybody’s top 9 forward, is in the middle with the PK specialist wingers Connor Brown and Mattias Janmark on another trio as coach Kris Knoblauch, who has pushed all the right buttons in this playoff run, tries to spread things around against the ultra-deep Panthers.

On the back-end, the left-shot Brett Kulak’s playoff experimentation as right-side partner with Darnell Nurse, is ending. It didn’t blow up in anybody’s face but pencil in Nurse and old partner Cody Ceci, at least for Game 1, with Kulak, who has done precious little work on right in his NHL career, and Philip Broberg as the new third pairing.

Broberg, who’s been in for Vincent Desharnais the last three games, will switch to right with Kulak, who hasn’t felt comfortable on his off side.

Who’s out?

The two right-shot centres Derek Ryan and Sam Carrick won’t play.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

They’ve taken turns on the fourth line throughout the 18 playoff games, with Ryan, also on the first PK pair with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and briefly on RW on a third-line. Expect Foegele and McLeod to be back together as a PK duo, Brown and Janmark, as usual, with Adam Henrique in for Ryan with Nugent-Hopkins.

“Probably I was taken out for defensive deficiencies,” said Foegele, who had a bad giveaway deep in his zone that Brock Boeser converted in the game 3 loss to Vancouver in series two.

With the Oilers deeper at forward than last year, he got the hook in the Dallas Western final.

“It’s never fun watching because I’ve been on this team for three years and it’s an exciting time. I know what I need to do to stay. Every game is a new opportunity. You do have to have a short memory,” said Foegele, who’s coming off a career high 20 goals and 41 points as he heads to UFA status July 1.

Kulak gave it a college try on his off-side, but this was one twist by Knoblauch that hasn’t worked. He’s able and willing but now he’s back where he belongs, on left.

“It’s about how much potential you can reach playing the other side. I did fine but wasn’t contributing the way I can the last few games,” he said.

Advertisement 4

Article content

“Anyone can play both sides but it’s about how far away you are from your best game. That’s what I felt. The confidence in the offensive zone, the pinching down (the boards to keep pucks in), jumping up in the play, getting the puck off the boards. Those are natural things after playing 10 years straight,” he said.

He never went to the coach to say uncle for the right-shot experiment, though.

“No, no, I just do as I’m told,” he said.

Recommended from Editorial

Bookmark our website and support our journalism: Don’t forget to add and to your bookmarks and sign up for our newsletters here. You can also support our journalism by becoming a digital subscriber. Subscribers gain unlimited access to The Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Sun, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today to the Edmonton Journal  or the Edmonton Sun.

Article content