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3 Players Out, Barrie Demoted Ahead of Oilers Game 3 Matchup vs. Jets

The Oilers are making some significant lineup changes to ahead of Game 3 vs. the Winnipeg Jets, they’ve also demoted a key defenseman.

If the lines from Sunday’s Edmonton Oilers skate indicate the game plan for head coach Dave Tippett heading into the team’s Game 3 contest against the Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton is going with speed in an attempt to work themslves back into this first-round North Division series. Out of the lineup are Alex Chiasson, Dominik Kahun and James Neal. In are the quicker Gaetan Haas, Tyler Ennis and Devin Shore.

Related: Jets Will Get Ehlers Back for Game 3 vs. Oilers

Tippett seems to have also made a defensive pairing switch as Ethan Bear will play with Darnell Nurse and Tyson Barrie will be moved down to third-pairing minutes alongside Slater Koekkoek. The lines look as follows:

Draisaitl-McDavid-Puljujarvi
RNH-McLeod-Kassian
Shore-Khaira-Archibald
Ennis-Haas-Yamamoto

Nurse-Bear
Kulikov-Larsson
Koekkoek-Barrie

Smith 

What hasn’t seemed to change is the stacking of the top line. Tippett is betting everything that Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will break out offensively in this series and the coach seems to believe they’ll need each other to do so. It’s not as though Edmonton hasn’t gotten their chances, or deserved a better fate than to be down 2-0 in this series. They’ve actually outshot the Jets up to this point.

Still, they’re in a hole and the Oilers two biggest stars will have to get them out of it.

Coach Sending Message to Barrie or Rewarding Bear?

Tyson Barrie on the third pair could suggest the coach is concerned with the minutes Barrie is taking and that he’s leaking chances against. That said, this also could be about giving Nurse and Bear a look together while keeping his defense-first pair of Adam Larsson and Dmitry Kulikov in tact. Barrie will still likely get first-unit power play time, assuming the Jets start getting called more often for holding up the Oilers when they cross the offensive blue line.

Tyson Barrie Edmonton Oilers 1
Tyson Barrie Edmonton Oilers 1

Barrie has averaged the second most ice time for defensemen on the roster, behind Nurse’s whopping 30:36. He’s more than eight minutes per game higher than the next-closest d-man in Adam Larsson and almost 10 minutes more per game than Bear. The Oilers are going to need Bear to show he can handle the extra minutes right out of the gate.

Overall, the Oilers need a strong game. This can’t be a close contest when the team needs a decisive win to get their confidence back and the feeling this series isn’t already out of reach. It won’t be easy. The Oilers two best players have been held off the scoresheet and the Jets are getting Nikolaj Ehlers back in the lineup Sunday night.

Next: Tavares Sends Message to Leafs Fans and Team After Scary Injury

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  1. Pingback: Josh Archibald Takes Heat for Game 3 Loss, Oilers Struggles Not His Fault

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