Controversial lineup changes for Oilers, including Evander Kane, Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci

At practice in Edmonton. Got a lot of people talking:

Chris Gosselin

It had to be expected that Edmonton Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch was going to make changes to his lineup ahead of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night against the Florida Panthers. After all, his team is trailing 0-2 in the series, and historically speaking, clubs that hold a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final are 49-5 all time.

During practice on Wednesday, the first thing that was immediately reported was that forward Evander Kane and defenseman Darnell Nurse missed the skate as the Oilers experimented with some new-look line combinations.

Kane skated on his own, but left prior to his teammates taking over the ice. Kane and Nurse played 10:33 minutes and 4:20 minutes, respectively, in Game 2 as both are believed to be playing with undisclosed injuries.

When asked directly about Kane's availability for Game 3, coach Knoblauch said : “We haven’t decided yet."

This led to significant changes to the lines with Leon Draisaitl centering Ryan McLeod and Dylan Holloway, after playing with Holloway and veteran Adam Henrique in Game 2. It is also expected that Corey Perry will re-enter the lineup. 

There was also a controversial change to the blue line as Ben Gleason was filling in for Nurse on a pair with Vincent Desharnais, while Cody Ceci was left skating on the fourth pair. The latter was hoping to draw back in after being a healthy scratch for Game 2, though his use of the fourth pairing could be just Gleason acting as a placeholder for Nurse, per Dan Rosen of

This is the lineup at practice on Wednesday:

Nugent-Hopkins - McDavid - Hyman
McLeod - Draisaitl - Holloway
Janmark-Henrique - Brown
Foegele - Carrick/Ryan - Perry

Ekholm - Bouchard
Gleason - Desharnais
Kulak - Broberg
Kemp - Ceci