It’s a double dose of the Battle of Alberta to get the NHL pre-season going.
“We want to play some players, give them an opportunity early to get their feet wet, give them an idea to see what it’s going to feel like as we move forward, and find out if they deserve to move forward,” said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan.
The expected lineup in Edmonton is:
Maroon – McDavid – Strome
Laleggia – Nugent-Hopkins – Puljujarvi
Pakarinen – Letestu – Kassian
Three of Currie, Hamilton, Downing, and P. Russell on the fourth line.
Nurse – Gryba
Jones – Bear
Lagesson – Fayne
The defensive pairing of Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear features two players the Oilers drafted in 2015 out of the WHL.
“They played some of the hockey together in Penticton,” said McLellan. “We’ll put them in game tonight where the intensity is going to go up. The pace is going be quicker. We’ll see if they communicate with each other and use some of the things we’ve talked about over the first four days.”
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The two 20-year-olds have been rivals in the WHL with Jones playing for Portland and Bear for Seattle.
“We’re really good friends off the ice. I’ve know him since we got drafted here. We kind of clicked instantly,” said Jones. “I haven’t had too much experience with him on the ice, but I think our chemistry off the ice is really going to help with our chemistry on the ice tonight.”
The expected lineup in Calgary is:
Lucic – Draisaitl – Caggiula
Khaira – Kelly – Yamamoto
Callahan – Malone – Rattie
Three of Polei, Gambardella, Chase, and Christoffer on the fourth line.
Klefbom – Larsson
Auvitu – Simpson
Lowe – Paigin
The game at Rogers Place will be heard on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 5:30 p.m. The game starts at 7 p.m.