Oilers coach Knoblauch directing traffic at practice.
Photo credit: The Athletic

Oilers coach Knoblauch shakes up lineup again, updates status on Kane

Published March 26, 2024 at 11:26

Tonight the Edmonton Oilers will take on the Winnipeg Jets after two disappointing losses in Ontario, and coach Knoblauch is shaking up the lineup.

In the last two games, Knoblauch has seriously mixed up the lines, including going with McDavid and Draisaitl together yet again as every Oilers coach inevitably tries. Kane was also scratched on Sunday, which was described as a maintenance day for nagging injuries, but many believed it was performance related. Today at practice, all forward lines were mixed up, and Kane returns on the third line.

The first line of Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid, and Hyman is likely the team's best first line that they should stick with in the playoffs. Knoblauch's continuing with a new look second line from last game with Henrique and Foegele on Draisaitl's wings for the second line. Kane will skate with McLeod and Perry on the third line - and Kane and Perry has shown to have some promise with chemistry.

Still, it's interesting to see Kane return to the lineup still not in the top six. He just hasn't shown a fit with Draisaitl on the second line this season, and the Oilers need to maximize the output of their generational second line center. It's tough for Kane in the limited opportunities for sure, but he needs to once again prove he should be higher in the lineup if he wants to be - he's on an unacceptable run of no goals in 16 games right now.

In the coming weeks, we should see Knoblauch really lock down the lines and pairings the team will use heading into the playoffs, and allow those likes to get consistent reps with each other. Tonight against one of the top Western Conference teams in the Jets, these lines which could be in game 1 of the playoffs will have a great test.
March 26   |   375 answers
Oilers coach Knoblauch shakes up lineup again, updates status on Kane

What will be the first line for the Oilers in game one of the playoffs?

Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid, Hyman23562.7 %
Draisaitl, McDavid, Hyman11430.4 %
Other184.8 %
See Results82.1 %
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