The Edmonton Oilers face a do-or-stay home Game 6 against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday evening. The team will be without the services of defenseman Andrej Sekera.
Head coach Todd McLellan ruled out Sekera for Game 6, and should the Oilers win, a possible Game 7 back in Anaheim. The Oilers did not reveal the nature of the injury; however, the Edmonton Journal reports Sekera sustained a left-leg injury.
In the first period of Game 5, the 6-foot, 198-pound Sekera went shoulder-to-shoulder hit with the 6-foot-4, 221-pound raging bull Ryan Getzlaf, sending the Oiler d-man into the boards.
Here’s a replay of the hit, not at regular speed:
And now Sekera is hurt after hit from Getzlaf. Not sure what happened pic.twitter.com/VPo0eMJUJX
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 6, 2017
Sekera was down on the ice for a bit before behind helped off by the trainer. He did come back to the bench after some time, but did not skate. Sekera later left the game for good.
With Sekera gone, Adam Larsson took over a majority of the minutes on the blueline. Larsson played an incredible 44:58 time on ice in the Oilers loss.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal expects Eric Gryba to draw in.
The Oilers will likely play Eric Gryba in Sekera’s place, perhaps on the right side with Darnell Nurse in the third pairing. Matt Benning, who was rattled by a Nate Thompson hit into the end glass early in game five and was down for some time before returning to play 28 minutes, could move up to play with Kris Russell in the second pairing.
The addition of Gryba brings a little more nastiness to the Oilers lineup. Playing in only 40 games during the regular season, Gryba still managed to be fifth on the Oilers in hits with 145.
Cam Lewis of OilersNation.com gets real on the loss of Sekera and who has to earn their money in his absence:
[T]his is a huge loss for the Oilers blue line, as Sekera has been a key presence on the team all season. Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, and Darnell Nurse are all going to have to step up in a massive way if the Oilers are going to come back and snatch this series.
Tune in tonight at 7:00pm ET (NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports) to see if Edmonton can force a daunting Game 7 (for the Ducks) back in Southern California.