Oscar Klefbom will return to the ice when the Edmonton Oilers host the Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday night after suffering a broken pinky finger on his left hand.
Klefbom has missed the last 21 games. The Oilers went 6-12-3 without him.
“The finger’s been pretty stiff,” said Klefbom. He explained shooting and passing is more of a challenge than stick handling.
“It’s improving every day. It feels better every day out there.”
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Klefbom will be paired with Adam Larsson.
He won’t return to his spot on the first unit power play. Darnell Nurse will stay in that spot with Klefbom going to the second unit. Other than that, head coach Ken Hitchcock probably won’t limit Klefbom’s ice time.
“This is when coaches are idiots. We all start off, we got a long-term plan, we’re going to ease him in, and that lasts four minutes,” said Hitchcock.
“We’re all saying we’re going to ease him in, but I guarantee at the end of the night he’s going to play 25 minutes.”
Cam Talbot will start in goal. He and Mikko Koskinen split the Oilers two overtime losses on the weekend.
“I’m just waiting for someone to grab it rather than give it,” said Hitchcock. “No one has really gone out and taken it. As soon as someone does, we’ll run with him.”
The Oilers expected lineup is:
Lucic – McDavid – Rattie
Rieder – Draisaitl – Chiasson
Khaira – Nugent-Hopkins – Kassian
Malone – Brodziak – Puljuajarvi
Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Gravel – Benning
The Oilers and Blackhawks are on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 5:30 p.m. The game starts at 7 p.m.
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