EDMONTON, Alberta | Asked for his impressions of the Oilers from their Tuesday win over Vancouver, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau pointed out the obvious truth.
“The young guys are pretty quick,” he said. “They’re good.”
For Edmonton, the “young guys” most prominently means the “Kids” line of 2010 top pick TaylorHall, 2011 top pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and stud prospect Jordan Eberle but also can apply to Magnus Paajarvi and Linus Omark.
The Hall-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle line combined to create two of Edmonton’s three goals in beating the Canucks.
In an ideal world for the Caps, their checking line of Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich and Joel Ward would get the call against Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle. The Caps’ trio has been so successful early this season and could use experience as an edge over spunk and speed.
Ward said the goal would be to make them play “200-foot hockey.”
“For it’s just being mentally sharp – just worry about what we’ve got to do,” Ward said. “I think if we can apply a little bit of pressure on them and try to make them make one too many plays, that might be a helpful factor for us. …
“That line is really skilled. They belong in this league. But we’re up to the task if we’re called up and just keep things simple because they transition so well.”
If Oilers coach Tom Renney has anything to say about it, his “Kids” line won’t see much action against a group out there with the purpose of shutting them down. Edmonton gets the last line change at home, so the smart, tactical Renney might want to match up skill vs. skill – say, vs. the Caps’ second line of Alexander Semin, Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble – and put his top line out there when Jeff Schultz and Sean Collins are on the ice.
Boudreau would like to get his matchups but understands being on the road presents this disadvantage.
“It’s really difficult depending how convoluted you want to make the game and how slow you want to make the game,” he said.