Edmonton Journal

McDavid fine after collision with Holloway

Mid-game lineup tweak by Knoblauch revitalize­s Oilers’ explosive offence

- ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI rtychkowsk­i@postmedia.com

It was a chaotic couple of seconds in the third period Tuesday when the goal that got the Edmonton Oilers rolling had the same effect on their captain.

With a rebound just sitting there in the crease, Dylan Holloway streaked toward the net at top speed, dove at the loose puck and made it 4-3 Oilers, taking Connor McDavid down like a bowling pin on the subsequent slide into the end boards.

“That was a little scary but I saw him coming last second,” said a grinning McDavid, who was none the worse for wear after his six-assist night against the Detroit Red Wings.

“Holler is a little bit like a bull in a china shop sometimes. But you’ve got to go to the net hard and he got rewarded there. That was a huge goal for our group and got us going.”

Holloway, who’d just been elevated from the second line, said he wasn’t going to be denied, even if it meant McDavid had to jump over him to avoid being taken out at the knees.

“I had to sell out for that one,” he said. “I couldn’t risk the puck being knocked away. My eyes kind of lit up.”

Head coach Kris Knoblauch’s decision to move Holloway up in the lineup seemed to spark things for Edmonton’s stagnating offence. Knoblauch doesn’t tinker much, but when he does it gets the team’s attention.

“We just wanted to change up the lines, add a little more speed on the Draisaitl line, fresh young legs,” said Knoblauch. “And maybe a little more of a steady presence with Corey Perry being on the Ryan McLeod line.

“We just needed to do something because we needed to change the scenario after the second period. It wasn’t working. We needed to change something.”

McDavid thought the timing was perfect and the results spoke for themselves. Edmonton scored five goals in the third period.

“He has a great feel for the game,” said McDavid. “He is a calm presence on the bench. I think you guys can see that. Tonight he wasn’t loving where the game was going and sometimes you need to tweak it a little bit. I thought his little tweaks worked and that is the sign of a good coach.

“You need that accountabi­lity now and then, especially from your head coach. You guys might not see it all the time, but he does a great job keeping guys accountabl­e. Nobody liked the second period and obviously he would say the same. He changed it when he felt like it needed a change. I thought it was good.”

 ?? DAVID BLOOM ?? The Oilers’ Sam Gagner and Dylan Holloway battle for a loose puck in front of the Red Wings net Tuesday at Rogers Place. The Oilers won 8-4 thanks to a five-goal third period.
DAVID BLOOM The Oilers’ Sam Gagner and Dylan Holloway battle for a loose puck in front of the Red Wings net Tuesday at Rogers Place. The Oilers won 8-4 thanks to a five-goal third period.

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