As Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan prepares to direct his 700th NHL game, it appears as though he feels he’ll need some toughness in the lineup. McLellan will dress 6’4”, 228 lb defenceman Eric Gryba over Matthew Benning in tonight’s divisional contest against the Anaheim Ducks.
While any game against the current incarnation of the Ducks can be viewed as a tough contest, the playoff implications of a win tonight could ratchet the intensity up a notch or two. A victory of any kind for the Oilers tonight would earn them a tiebreaker should the the two teams earn the same amount of points at the conclusion of the regular season.
With Gryba in the lineup for the Oilers, the team can rest a little easier knowing that if the Ducks are going to take liberties with players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl then the hulking defenceman can step in to police the situation. Add Milan Lucic, Patrick Maroon and Zack Kassian, as well as Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa on the Ducks side and tonight’s game has the potential to produce some real fireworks.