Should Coach Knoblauch of the Edmonton Oilers Stick With the Same Lineup for Game 5?

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers‘ depth really shone in Game 4 on Wednesday night. Prior to the game, Head Coach Kris Knoblauch made some key lineup changes, bringing back Ryan McLeod, Corey Perry, and Phillip Broberg and shuffling the defensive pairings. The new defensive pairings were: Ekholm – Bouchard, Nurse – Kulak, Broberg – Ceci. This decision came after a lackluster performance from the Nurse – Ceci pairing in Game 3, prompting Coach Knoblauch to split them up and try different combinations. Despite criticism from many fans, swapping out Phillip Broberg for Vincent Desharnais turned out to be the right move, contributing to a convincing 5-2 victory for the Oilers.

The Oilers made an impressive comeback after falling behind 2-0 early in the first period. Ryan McLeod scored an important goal off a rebound, with an assist from Corey Perry, which brought the score to 2-1. Another standout moment was when Mattias Janmark scored a shorthanded goal to take a 3-2 lead, assisted by Connor Brown, causing an eruption of excitement at Rogers Place. Notably, this was the only special teams goal scored in the series so far, and the Oilers’ penalty kill has been flawless, going 23 for 23 in the last two series against the Stars and Canucks. In my opinion, the McLeod-Drai-Perry 2nd line dominated the game and outplayed all the other lines.

In my opinion, Coach Knoblauch should stick with the same lineup going into Game 5, but I think it’s important to avoid pairing Nurse and Ceci together on defense. I’d be open to Desharnais taking Broberg’s place, but I believe the rest of the lines and defensive pairings should remain unchanged. There are valid arguments for both players. Desharnais provides physicality, while Broberg has greater speed and can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone. Here’s how I think the lineup should be set up for Game 5 on Friday:

RNH – McDavid- Hyman  
McLeod – Draisaitl- Perry  
Kane – Henrique – Holloway  
Janmark – Ryan – Brown

Ekholm – Bouchard 
Nurse – Kulak  
Broberg – Ceci



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Matthew Buhrmann

Writer at Inside the Rink l Covering Cincinnati Cyclones l Student @uofcincy l @Mbuhrmann61 on socials

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