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Kris Russell on verge of return as Edmonton Oilers host Jets

Edmonton Oilers' Kris Russell crashes into the boards after trying to check Calgary Flames' Andrew Mangiapane, back, during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday December 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Edmonton Oilers could have veteran defenceman Kris Russell back in the lineup Saturday night when they host the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Place.

Russell, 32, hasn’t played since Jan. 29, as he’s gone through concussion protocol.

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“These games we’re playing are all tight games,” said head coach Dave Tippett. “We’ve been running with three rookie defencemen in there who have done a pretty good job, but anytime you can put a veteran guy in, especially games that there’s so much on the line with these games, a veteran guy jumping in there will help the cause.”

“He’s a guy that does anything he has to do to help the team win. I think you appreciate that, especially a goalie in this league, is guys who put it all on the line for the betterment of the group,” said goalie Mike Smith, who will start against the Jets.

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Winger Kailer Yamamoto will not return from an ankle injury suffered Sunday in Los Angeles, though he is close to playing. Zack Kassian is back from a seven-game suspension.

The Oilers expected lineup is:

Athanasiou – McDavid – Ennis

Nugent-Hopkins – Draisaitl – Chiasson

Kassian – Sheahan – Archibald

Khaira – Haas – P. Russell

Nurse – Bear

Jones – Larsson

K. Russell – Benning

Smith

Catch the Oilers and Jets on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 6:30 p.m. The game starts at 8 p.m.

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