Latest Oilers injury news ahead of must-win game 3 versus Panthers

After being relatively healthy throughout the regular season, the Edmonton Oilers have not been quite so lucky with injuries during the playoffs.
Edmonton Oilers v Pittsburgh Penguins
Edmonton Oilers v Pittsburgh Penguins / Justin Berl/GettyImages

The Edmonton Oilers were one of the healthiest (and luckiest) teams during the 2023-24 regular season. As per, the only lost 60 man games to injury during the regular season, which were the second-fewest in the NHL.

It's been a different story during the playoffs however, with injury concerns involving the likes of Adam Henrique, Evander Kane and Leon Draisaitl. Now, in the buildup to game three of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night, there have been some more issues for the Oilers to contend with.

More specifically, we're talking about Darnell Nurse and Kane. Their availability -- or lack thereof -- could prove crucial to a team preparing for a must-win game versus the Florida Panthers, at Rogers Place.

Update on Nurse is positive

Starting with Nurse, he suffered an injury after an awkward hit during the first period of game two on Monday night. He subsequently has not participated in practice, leading to some concern that he will not be available for game three.

However, according to Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch, Nurse should be okay to play on Thursday night. Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Knoblauch said: "With the medical treatment that he got in Game 2, he was able to play a little bit at the end of the game. With the time off and everything that we need to do, I have no issues he’ll be ready to play."

In one respect it's a positive that Nurse will be available, from the standpoint of his veteran experience and being capable of logging big minutes. On the flip side though it's been no secret he has struggled during these playoffs, highlighted by a team-worst -15 rating through 20 games.

Kane's status is less clear

Turing to Kane, the prognosis is less certain in respect of his availability for game three. Officially speaking, Knoblauch simply said the team hadn't decided yet, when asked about the polarising winger on Wednesday.

In this respect, it continues the recent theme of the Oilers being coy about what the issue is with Kane. While we know he injured himself during the first period of game six versus the Dallas Stars in the previous round, it has not been revealed what the actual injury is.

This has in turn led to speculation about if Kane's struggles are related to the sports hernia he has been dealing with all season, or a new injury altogether. Or potentially even a combination of the hernia issue and another injury.

What we do know though, is that the 2009 fourth round draft pick has not been his usual self through two games in the Stanley Cup Final. With him being limited in both his playing time and physical approach towards the opposition, you can even make the case that him being on the ice full stop while injured, is actually a detriment to the team.

Next. Oilers avoid disaster with Leon Draisaitl situation. Oilers avoid disaster with Leon Draisaitl situation. dark

As a final note, it's also worth noting Knoblauch indicated Corey Perry will be back in the lineup on Thursday night. Perry was limited to 8:45 of ice time in game one and was a scratch for game two.

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