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Edmonton Oilers set to make lineup changes for Game 4 against Dallas Stars

The Edmonton Oilers are shaking things up.

Head coach Kris Knoblauch, however, is keeping whatever moves the team plans to make close to his chest.

“You’re going to have to wait,” he said with a smile Wednesday morning. “It’s a big showcase.”

The rookie bench boss will make lineup changes for Game 4 of the NHL’s Western Conference final with Edmonton trailing the Dallas Stars 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

And while Knoblauch wouldn’t elaborate further, it appears defenceman Philip Broberg will see his first action of the playoffs.

Veteran forward Corey Perry and centre Ryan McLeod also look set to draw back in with the Oilers having lost consecutive games for the first time this post-season.

Edmonton defenceman David Desharnais, who turned 28 on Thursday and hit the post in the third period of Monday’s Game 3 with the score tied, stayed out late with forwards Warren Foegele and Sam Carrick after the Oilers’ morning skate, which suggests all three will be scratched.

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The 22-year-old Broberg registered two assists in 12 regular-season games with the Oilers sandwiched around a long stint with the American Hockey League’s Bakersfield Condors in 2023-24.

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Selected eighth overall at the 2019 draft, Broberg finished the minor-league schedule with five goals and 38 points in 49 contests.

The Swede was largely on the outside looking in with the Oilers until getting demoted to the AHL in November to work on his craft.

“(Broberg’s) been making the most of his season,” Knoblauch said. “Very difficult situation here. We feel we have a player who is NHL-ready, but we had our six defencemen and we were very fortunate this year to have almost no injuries.

“You’ve got a young defenceman who we believe has got tremendous upside. (He) has to play, so if we have our six, it was not beneficial for him being here as our seventh. He went to Bakersfield and was great down there.”

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Broberg returned to the Oilers at the end of the regular season and picked up assists in consecutive games. He also made two AHL playoff appearances in late April — his last competitive action.

The Swede suited up for nine playoff games with Edmonton last spring and one in 2021-22.

Broberg, who has two goals and 13 points in 91 combined games with the Oilers, said the confidence he developed in Bakersfield and his past playoff experience should help him if his number is called.

“I’m available if they need me,” he said. “Just trying to stay ready for the opportunity.”

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Perry, meanwhile, looks set to rejoin the action after being a healthy scratch for the last five games. The 39-year-old former Hart Trophy winner and Stanley Cup champion is without a point in the playoffs.

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McLeod, 24, was scratched for Game 3 after failing to register a point in 14 post-season games this spring.

The series shifts to Dallas for Game 5 on Friday. Game 6, if necessary, would be back in Edmonton on Sunday.

Broberg’s inclusion should add more speed to an Oilers defence that has been stretched at times by a Stars’ attack that will often see a forward bolt the defensive zone early.

“In the future, down the road next season, he’s going to be a big part of this organization,” Knoblauch said of the blueliner. “Right now, we have a difficult decision — putting in a young player that hasn’t played.

“But we know if he does get that opportunity, he’s well-qualified to do it and could provide something for our team.”

&© 2024 The Canadian Press

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