SUN Hockey Pool

Patience pays for Pouliot

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

It took two weeks for Marc-Antoine Pouliot to draw into the Edmonton Oilers lineup.

And for the time being, he's staying there.

Pouliot played his second consecutive game against the Calgary Flames on Saturday. He'll be back in the lineup today when the Oilers host the Phoenix Coyotes.

"It's been great," Pouliot said. "It was two weeks before I played my first game. I took part in four warm-ups and I did everything so I felt more at ease when they gave me the chance to play and I think I responded well."

Pouliot finished even with one shot in 10:22 of ice time Saturday against the Flames.

"He made some plays," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "For a young guy he didn't look intimidated to play in the game.

"He made some plays down low with the puck and I've liked what I've seen so far. He hasn't made too many mistakes by inexperience. He's played well."

As the Oilers first pick (22nd overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, there are high expectations on the 20-year-old native of Quebec City.

Before being called up to the Oilers on March 13, Pouliot had 15 goals and 30 assists in 65 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

After a couple of close calls, he finally made his Oilers debut in Thursday's 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

"I'm not a nervous person. The first game I was a little nervous, but then I started to get more comfortable," Pouliot said. "(Saturday) I was more comfortable than the first game and hopefully the next game I'll be even more comfortable. I want to stay in the lineup and prove that I can play in the NHL right now."

Saturday's encounter against the Flames was Pouliot's first on-ice exposure to the Battle of Alberta.

"That was great. I haven't seen that too often before," he said. "But I've never played in a game that was that crazy. There were a lot of Calgary fans here , too. It was great. Unfortunately we didn't win, but it was a good experience."


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