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Oilers consider making defensive lineup changes ahead of Game 4 vs. Stars – The Hockey Writers – Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch says he is considering a change to his defensive lineup for Game 4. He didn’t drop any names, but Philip Broberg is rumored to be a possibility to appear in the lineup for Game 4 against the Dallas. Stars.

The Oilers have tinkered with their six defensemen during their 15 playoff games. On Monday night, with the team struggling mightily in the second period of Game 3, Knoblauch returned to the combination of Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci, which was an analytical disaster. After losing that game and going down 2-1 in the series, maybe it’s time for a more drastic move.

Who’s coming out of the line-up?

Darnell Nurse will be hit hard on Tuesday after a poor performance in Game 3. Nurse has even struggled in the playoffs this season, holding a plus/minus -12 league lead. Knoblauch said he takes plus/minus with a grain of salt, but also noted that Nurse can play better. He gets scratched defensively at times, and it seems to get worse when he’s on the ice with Cody Ceci.

It would be one thing if Nurse had a few off games. But as a $9.5 million defenseman, there is talk of sending a clear message that he is being paid to improve. Can the Oilers justify cutting a player who eats so many minutes and makes so much money?

Darnell nurse Edmonton Oilers
Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Speaking of Ceci, he hasn’t exactly been reliable either. There are times when he’s doing well, and other times it’s hard to argue with using him as a sixth defenseman on the roster. Ceci has had his moments offensively, but the Oilers need more from him on the defensive end.

The other option would be to play 11-7, which seems unlikely since the Oilers are probably already pushing their top too hard.

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It’s not clear if Broberg will be the answer to the Oilers’ problems holding onto a lead or playing consistent hockey for 60 minutes. But the one thing Edmonton likely won’t have trouble finding in its game is motivation. This is a player who may get his first chance at playoff hockey on Wednesday, and his mentality will likely be to play well enough that the Oilers should hesitate to cut him.

Knoblauch confirmed that Stuart Skinner will be back in net for Game 4, but did not confirm whether Ryan McLeod would be reinserted into the lineup.

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