The Edmonton Oilers are playing it cautiously with captain Connor McDavid. He took warm-ups and practice Friday morning but the team, player and coach have decided to rest him one more game, at least.
There’s no news on if the decision not to play McDavid is related to any kind of setback, or more that Edmonton is likely taking things slowly. Considering the game against Minnesota is important on Friday, but not so critical it’s worth rushing a non-100 percent, the Oilers look to be easing McDavid back into the lineup.
To the credit of the team, the Oilers have been far better than most expected they’d be without McDavid in the lineup. They’ve picked up five of a possible six points in their last three games, gone 3-1-1- in their last five and are second in the Pacific Division thanks to a win by the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.
McDavid has been watching closely and said it’s fun to see how well the guys are doing.
And, McDavid looks good too. His 50% might be better than most at full capacity, but why rush things? If something were to happen where he re-aggravated the injury, that would be the last thing Edmonton needs. What they need in the short-term is to find a way to scratch another point from a game tonight versus a Wild team that has had their number this season. If the Leon Draisaitl-led team can do that, it gives McDavid a couple more days to ease up, rest and rehab, then get into the lineup and help the Oilers make the playoffs.
Koskinen Gets the Start
In net tonight, the Oilers will go with Mikko Koskinen. Mike Smith played great against the Boston Bruins but the Oilers want to keep Koskinen warm. He played well in his last outing so coach Dave Tippett isn’t worried.
Will Fans Ease Up on Nurse?
Injuries on the blue line to Oscar Klefbom and Kris Russell will mean Darnell Nurse will have to eat more minutes on Friday. Evan Bouchard is still not listed as in the lineup.
Nurse played a whopping 29:58 against Boston and fans were extremely hard on him after the overtime loss. There’s been a bit of kick-back from media and fans about giving Nurse some credit. It will be interesting to see how he plays tonight.
Oilers Injury Report
Oilers are still without Joakim Nygard (hand) is on IR: James Neal (foot) is on IR; Connor McDavid (quad) is on IR; Oscar Klefbom (shoulder) is on IR; Kris Russell (concussion) is on IR.
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