Two of the NHL’s biggest stars collide Wednesday night at Rogers Place when the Edmonton Oilers host the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I think Sid has changed his game since he’s been in the league,” said Oilers captain Connor McDavid of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.
“He came in as a pass-first guy. Then he wanted to get better at face-offs. Now look at him, he’s a great face-off guy. He wanted to score more goals. He’s a 50-goal scorer and a Rocket Richard winner.”
“I think it brings out the best in everybody,” Crosby said. “That’s partly why you play the game, is for challenges like that.”
The Oilers are introducing another defenceman to the NHL in Markus Niemelainen who will make his debut. He was called up from Bakersfield with Cody Ceci entering COVID-19 protocol.
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“It’s an opportunity for guys to step up,” said head coach Dave Tippett. “If you watch his game in Bakersfield, he’s a real competitive guy, plays big minutes for them. He’s earned the right to be here.”
The Oilers are also without injured blueliners Darnell Nurse, Duncan Keith and Slater Koekkoek.
The Oilers expected lineup is:
Hyman – McDavid – Kassian
Nugent-Hopkins – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Foegele – McLeod – Puljujarvi
Benson – Ryan – Sceviour
Russell – Barrie
Lagesson – Bouchard
Niemelainen – Broberg
Leon Draisaitl, who leads the NHL in scoring with 40 points, was named the league’s first star for November after compiling 27 points in 13 games.
Catch the Oilers and Penguins on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 6 p.m. The game starts at 8 p.m.