SUN Hockey Pool

Lining them up

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

It's not out of the question that Ethan Moreau, Jarret Stoll and Fernando Pisani could combine for 60 goals this season. Big deal?

Well, Moreau, Stoll and Pisani will start the 2006-07 campaign as Craig MacTavish's third line. If you remember the lean years for the Edmonton Oilers in the mid-1990's, you know that was decent production from the first or second lines, when 40 was like found money for a third threesome like Todd Marchant, Rem Murray and Mike Grier.

Sixty? Why not?

"Whoever we matchup against, it's going to be favourable, I'd think," said Moreau. "There's no reason why we can't be the most productive third line in the league.

"Those guys are great to play with. I've played with both of them. They both work extremely hard. They're both good positionally. They both shoot the puck great."

NOT JUST CHECKERS

With two top lines that are interchangeable in Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff, Joffrey Lupul, Raffi Torres, Petr Sykora and Ales Hemsky, MacTavish has enough depth to put together a third line that won't be limited to a role as checkers.

"On paper, we're the third line," Moreau said. "We're pretty deep. On any given night, we have some players on our fourth line who can be impact players.

"We expect that any line on any given night can win games for us. We can go out (tonight) and score two or three goals. So can Hemmer and Sykora's line and, obviously, Smyth, Horcoff and Lupul. Goalscoring can come from wherever."

Moreau scored 20 goals in 2003-04. Stoll notched 22 last season. Pisani came up short in regular season with 18, but then popped 14 more in the playoffs.

The beauty of it, from MacTavish's end, is all three are considered reliable defensive players. Moreau and Stoll, especially, are among his most used penalty killers.

"That line is going to play lots," said MacTavish. "Especially in the checking assignments they'll draw a lot of nights.

"It'll be an opportunity for them to increase their minutes. Those guys can all put the puck in the net ... they're very disciplined, they're going to be good defensively and they're going to do a lot for us."

VERSATILE

Moreau scored 11 goals in 2005-06, with four shorthanded, which put him within reach of NHL leaders. The Oilers finished with 15 shorthanded goals as a team, leaving them tied for fourth.

Moreau, Stoll and Pisani can get it done 5-on-5 as well. They had a combined rating of plus-15 last season.

"For me to score 20, I don't play on the power play, so it all has to be five-on-five and shorthanded," Moreau said. "Having said that, playing with the right people, I'll get back to that.

"I'm really confident I'll be able to get 20 goals playing with those guys. The weird thing, if you're a guy on the cusp of scoring 20, is that if pucks don't go in, you drop down. If you have a year where they all go in, you could get 25 ... I definitely look to add offence to our lineup."


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