Edmonton Oilers defenceman Kris Russell didn’t count the stitches that went into his left ear Wednesday night in Denver. He just knows there were several.
“I tried getting the shot blocked. I don’t if it was the puck or the follow through, [that] kind of caught me in the ear,” said Russell of the play that injured him in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche.
Russell returned to the game in the third. After missing Thursday’s practice, Russell will play Saturday night when the Oilers host the Vancouver Canucks.
“He’s a tough little guy. I felt for him laying on the table,” said head coach Dave Tippett. “They’re sewing him up with half his ear hanging off.”
Forward Alex Chiasson is also good to go after being drilled by Colorado’s Ryan Graves on Wednesday. Chiasson didn’t return to the game after getting belted early in the second period.
“Arguably one of the biggest hits I’ve received in my career,” said Chiasson. “I just had to go through the protocol the last couple days.”
The Oilers will try to avoid losing back-to-back games in regulation time for just the second time all season.
“I think that’s just come from our group growing. We’ve done a much better job this season of realizing where we’re at as a team and what we need to do to play well,” said Chiasson.
The Oilers expected lineup is:
Draisaitl – McDavid – Kassian
Neal – Gagner – Chiasson
Khaira – Sheahan – Archibald
Granlund – Haas – P. Russell
Klefbom – Jones
Nurse – Bear
K. Russell – Larsson
Centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins won’t play this weekend as he continues to recover from a hand injury.
Catch the Oilers and Canucks on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 6:30 p.m. The game starts at 8 p.m.