Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Oilers Reunite McDavid Line to Add Size Ahead of Playoff Series versus Ducks

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Oilers Reunite McDavid Line to Add Size Ahead of Playoff Series versus Ducks

Article excerpt

Oilers beef up McDavid line versus Ducks

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EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oilers beefed up their top line Tuesday as they prepared for a second round NHL series against the Anaheim Ducks, a series that centre Connor McDavid says will feature more hits, bodychecks, bruises, and ice packs.

"San Jose was a team, they didn't want to engage us physically (in the first round) and they didn't want to get some of our big guys emotional and get that going," McDavid said after practice just before the Oilers flew out to southern California.

"I feel like Anaheim isn't going to shy away from that kind of game."

To that end, Oilers head coach Todd McLellan has reunited McDavid and winger Leon Draisaitl with forward Patrick Maroon in the last two days of practice.

That trio drove the Oiler offence in the regular season.

All three had more than 20 goals. McDavid won the NHL scoring race with 30 goals and 100 points, and Draisaitl was eighth (28 goals and 77 points).

Maroon was dropped down the lineup as the Sharks series progressed in favour of the smaller, speedier Drake Caggiula.

But in practice the six-foot-three, 227-pound left winger was back on the top line.

The line is expected to get a heavy diet of Duck centre Ryan Kesler and wingers Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg when the series opens Wednesday night at the Honda Center.

Kesler, a finalist for the Selke award this year for top defensive forward, is considered the league's prototypical uber-pest, all sandpaper and Stickum, jamming an opponent, limited his space, and trash talking in his ear.

McDavid was brief when asked to assess Kesler.

"He's been up for the Selke for how many years in a row. That obviously speaks for itself. He obviously understands his defensive role," said McDavid.

McLellan, asked for his assessment, was more concise and even more vague: "He's an experienced checker. …

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