Edmonton Oilers praise former coach Todd McLellan after 1,000-game milestone

The Edmonton Oilers will take on a former coach who is coming off a big milestone when the Los Angeles Kings come to Rogers Place Wednesday night (630 CHED, Face-off Show 6 p.m., Game at 7:30 p.m.).

Todd McLellan of the Kings coached his 1,000th NHL game Monday, a 6-1 loss to the Seattle Kraken. McLellan coached 266 of those games with the Oilers from 2015 to 2018. He was nominated for Coach of the Year for helping the Oilers break their 10-year playoff drought in 2016/17.

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“He kind of hounded me on my two-way game for sure,” said Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins “Once I started to play a little more defensively, he said to be a little more free, open up a little bit more more, use your offensive instincts again.

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“One thousand games in the NHL is a big accomplishment. Definitely happy for him.”

“He let me grow through the ups and downs of the first few years in this league. He showed a lot of trust and helped me along the way,” said Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse.

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With 15 games left in the regular season, the Oilers are third in the Pacific Division. They’re two points back of the Kings with a game in hand.

“We know where we’re at. We know where they’re at,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “It’s going to be a tight-checking game.”

Head coach Jay Woodcroft said Mikko Koskinen will start in goal but wouldn’t specify on any other lineup changes.

The Oilers and Kings have split two meetings this season with each team winning on the road.

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