Sad news: Oilers are facing a serious setback after a long term injury slowed down one of their premiere players indefinitely

No more spot in the lineup for Ryan McLeod in Game 3 of the Western Conference final between the Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars at Rogers Place on Monday.

The third-line centre drew the short straw with the return to active duty of Adam Henrique from a high-ankle sprain sustained at the end of the first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings on May 1.

Although McLeod’s offensive slump made him an appealing target for Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch—who has so far shown no qualms about benching underachievers, ask Stuart Skinner or Corey Perry—it wasn’t an easy choice.

Even though McLeod, who centers the third line in these playoff games, has yet to register a point, it is his work on the penalty kill that is concerning. In the postseason, he has averaged roughly 14 minutes per game and has 15 shots overall. However, over the last six games or more, he has helped to kill 21 consecutive penalties.

“Absolutely, it’s a reset,” Knoblauch said. “Clouder’s going to be a part of this team, whether he comes into this game or the following. We’re going to see him sooner than later.

“His game has many positive aspects, many of which stem from the penalty kill. He has made a significant contribution there with his reads and quickness. He hasn’t been playing as well in five-on-five as he did, particularly at the midseason. His best months were probably January and February. However, I believe it’s critical that he takes a brief break. “We have a lot of players who are performing well, and it’s been challenging to remove any of them from the lineup, including Sam Carrick, Corey Perry, and Connor Brown,” I said. We have a lot of talented, healthy players that can contribute to our success, and we have depth. Additionally, (McLeod) won’t play right now.

Henrique, meanwhile, came into Monday’s game with a goal and an assist in six previous playoff games.

“I think this time of year, it’s the big-picture thing everybody looks at, and I think everybody understands that,” Henrique said. “Everybody goes through ups and downs and I think you just have to have that big-picture mentality.


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