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TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (2-0-0) at EDMONTON OILERS (1-0-0)
Game-Time: 7:08 p.m. MDT
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio NetworkOilers Twitter Lineup Updates:
The Edmonton Oilers begin the home portion of their 2010 pre-season schedule tonight when the Tampa Bay Lightning pay a visit to Rexall Place.
After coming away with an inspired effort and solid 3-2 victory last night in Vancouver, Edmonton comes into tonight's game looking to continue the hot start in a game against the dynamic Lightning offence.
"It's nice to get the first one out of the way," Penner said before his pre-season debut. "We've got a lot of youth on this team and it's going to be exciting to see how they perform in their first NHL camp and pre-season game."
The Oilers dressed a more inexperienced lineup last night in Vancouver and therefore will be countering with a more veteran heavy squad tonight; however after much fanfare since their arrival in Oil Country, talented young forwards Taylor Hall and Magnus Paajarvi will be making their debuts against NHL competition as well. Oilers fans will be entertained with a great mix of skill, youth, and experience as the team opens up the 2010 home schedule.
"I've been looking forward to this for a while and I wasn't in the line-up last night but certainly tonight's going to be a lot of fun playing at home," Hall said after the morning skate.
"I'm sure Taylor's ready for it," Sam Gagner added. "It's one of those things where you work hard all summer to get a chance to do this, and he seems ready for the challenge."
Gagner will be centering Hall and Ales Hemsky on Edmonton's top line, while Paajarvi, Andrew Cogliano and Dustin Penner will skate together on the second line. Both trios come loaded with plenty of firepower, speed and skill, but Head Coach Tom Renney emphasized that he wants to see a complete game from all his players.
"It seems that the teams that are most successful in this league, regardless of what the system is, their best players are completely dedicated to 200 by 85," he explained. "We want to make sure that our guys are able to pull that off too.
"We're talking about certain highly talented people -- guys like Hemsky and Penner and Gagner, those types of people are like that. But we've got to play on our toes. We want to push forward and those guys have to contribute to that end too."
In what has already proven to be a busy training camp, the 45 players remaining in Edmonton have been working hard to secure a spot on the 2010-2011 Oilers roster. Drills, skating and system play have dominated the agenda at camp to this point, meaning the short time between games has been a positive for many of the players as they continue to adapt to the new structure and fight for a job in an incredibly competitive environment.
Bob Stauffer & Jack Michaels preview tonight's game
Oilers/Lightning pre-game report
RAW: Head coach Tom Renney pre-game vs. Tampa Bay
Tom Renney - Pre-game vs. Tampa Bay
Taylor Hall - Pre-game vs. Tampa Bay
Dustin Penner - Pre-game vs. Tampa Bay
Shawn Belle - Pre-game vs. Tampa Bay
Sam Gagner - Pre-game vs. Tampa Bay
Devan Dubnyk - Pre-game vs. Tampa Bay
Oilers vs. Canucks Post-Game:
Chris Vande Velde
Post-Game Highlights & Reaction
One of the most impressive players at Training Camp so far has been 2010 draftee Tyler Pitlick. In his brief time at camp, he’s already established himself as a complete two-way forward with incredible offensive ability. Speed, hands, smarts – and he knows what to do with all three. Tonight’s game will be Pitlick’s first opportunity to show his stuff against NHL competition. With winger Linus Omark on his right side, Pitlick will be given an excellent opportunity to play an offensive game and perhaps get some chances on special teams. With the camp roster continuing to shrink, Pitlick will be looking to make the most of his opportunity to establish himself in the organization.
When you think about the all the young prospects at Oilers camp with a shot to make the team, most would immediately think of Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi, and Jordan Eberle. Meanwhile, Linus Omark has been making his North American debut in a big way as he continues to push for a spot. Creative offensive instincts and silky smooth hands make Omark one of the more talented prospects in camp. Omark is a smaller guy, but he has focused his attention on certain aspects of his game to highlight his strengths and build off his potential weaknesses. He’s incredibly strong on his skates and can work the puck down low better than most, despite his smaller stature. Omark is one of the players pushing hard for a spot on the roster, and Oilers fans will get a good look at his talent tonight against the Lightning.
With the Lightning dressing a more experienced lineup in Winnipeg against the Blackhawks, other players will be counted on to carry the load offensively. Former Oiler and 2003 draftee Marc Pouliot will be making his return to Edmonton tonight to play his former club. Pouliot is slated to play on the fourth line with Adam Hall and Ted Purcell, but should get opportunities on the powerplay to showcase his offensive talent. No doubt Pouliot will want to have a strong showing in front of the team that cut him loose just a few short months ago.
Swedish prospect Johan Harju is bound to have a good game tonight, if only because he's up against friend and former Moscow Dynamo teammate Linus Omark. The two are similar players, in that they're on the smaller side with incredibly creative offensive instincts. While Harju isn't as developed as Omark is at this point in their respective careers, the compete level should be high tonight as the two go head-to-head for bragging rights.