Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McLellan is expected to break up Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall after a disappointing 3-1 defeat in their season opener in St Louis.
The two number one draft picks combined on the top line against the Blues but struggled to make an impact.
“After re-watching the game, the amount of offence we created was limited,” said McLellan. “Not a lot of guys had good looks at the net, and we’re still trying to find the right combinations.
“In particular, I’m not sure Taylor and Connor have connected real well.”
McDavid admitted that he couldn’t wait to get his debut “out of the way”, after a summer of intense hype, and McLellan says the circus that surrounds the 18-year-old must not become a distraction for the Oilers.
“I think we’re going to have that for a little while,” McLellan added, “but no one should be let off the hook — individually or collectively — because of one guy.”
Meanwhile, Hall, who is expected to be reunited with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the top line, says that defeat in St Louis was tough to stomach, but there are positive signs to take as they begin the season with a daunting-looking road-trip.
“We knew this trip was going to be tough. It’s a good test for our team,” said Hall. “We were 1-1 going into the third last night against a real good team, in their building. We had a chance to win, or at least get a point. We’re close.
“There’s just no room for moral victories, I think we’re past that stage. Still, there were a lot of things in that game last night that I haven’t seen in a long time — good things. Good intentions. The plays weren’t always perfect but the intentions were there.
“We just need to be a little sharper as a group because if we’re going to be a halfway decent team this year, these are the games we have to win and we have to be competitive in.”