Oilers coach Knoblauch speaking to media
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Oilers Coach Knoblauch finally solves team's biggest weakness

Published May 15, 2024 at 1:41 PM

The Oilers' defence pair of Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci has struggled mightily all year, and last night Knoblauch finally fixed it.

In a near must-win scenario last night, coach Knoblauch broke out all the stops with sweeping changes throughout the lineup. Most of his moves Oilers fans have seen throughout the season, but separating Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci is entirely new - and it addressed one of the Oilers biggest weaknesses this year.

Nurse and Ceci are supposed to be puck moving defenders, but together they've been negligent of their defensive positioning and turn the puck over too many times. By elevating Desharnais and demoting Ceci, all pairings now have a puck moving defenceman and a more stay at home defenceman. By every metric, the Nurse and Ceci pairing was one of the biggest problems for the Oilers all year - and Knoblauch knew something had to give with the season on the line.

Oilers coach makes gutsy move with sweeping change to playoff lineup

Of course, this wasn't the only extremely bold move from Kris Knoblauch in game 4. McDavid and Draisaitl were on separate lines again, Calvin Pickard got the starting nod in goal, and the Ekholm-Bouchard pairing got even more ice time. All of Knoblauch's decision came around to work perfectly to stabilize the forwards, defence, and goaltending, and the Oilers pulled off their much needed win.

It's not yet known to what extent Knoblauch will keep these line changes in game 5, but all of the lineup moves felt like the right choices - and it made Knoblauch look like a genius. With this lineup, the Oilers should be able to mount the series comeback, and win 2 out of the next 3 games against the Canucks.
May 15   |   417 answers
Oilers Coach Knoblauch finally solves team's biggest weakness

Do you agree that the Nurse and Ceci pairing has been a big weakness for the Oilers?

Yes, glad Knoblauch fixed it32978.9 %
No, put them back together6014.4 %
See Results286.7 %
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