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Hopkins to IR, Belanger Returns, Khabibulin In Net

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has moved off to IR, retroactive to Sunday. Joanne Ireland points out that it might be strep throat. If it's strep, he probably won't be back for another week. That means Ryan Smyth stays at centre, where' he's been less than effective.

Luckily, Eric Belanger has been activated from IR, which means Lennart Petrell, Teemu Hartikainen or Taylor Hall won't be forced to centre. Belanger may be back a bit early, however, and could be at risk for further injury based on the "he's close but not ready" update from Ralph Krueger on Thursday.

Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start in goal for the Oilers as they have three games in their next four nights. Khabibulin has been stellar thus far, but relying on him for a solid start at any time is a gamble. If Khabibulin is able to pull off another great start, he might have nominal value at the trade deadline.