SUN Hockey Pool

Tjarnqvist logging big minutes

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:42 PM ET

CALGARY -- So, who's going to eat up all those minutes that Chris Pronger logged on the Edmonton Oilers blue-line last season?

Fans without an answer for that one going into this season might have seen a candidate in Daniel Tjarnqvist during the Oilers' 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames Thursday as the unlikely workhorse logged 25:37.

And, while that's almost six minutes more a night than Tjarnqvist averaged last season with the Minnesota Wild, the big Swede looks ready to take a bite out of the void left by Pronger.

"I haven't played a whole season like that, but I've played 20-25 minutes at times," said Tjarnqvist, who scored the Oilers' 3-0 goal.

"The challenge is to try to play those minutes.

"It just takes some getting used to."

Tjarnqvist, who'll celebrate his 30th birthday next Saturday, paired up with captain Jason Smith in the season-opening win over the Flames, and they'll be together again tonight for the rematch at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

After averaging 19:46 of ice time a night last season with Minnesota, Tjarnqvist, who signed with the Oilers as a free agent in July, looked like a good match for Smith in their first crack at things as a tandem.

All told, he played 10:45 shorthanded, 10:02 at even strength and even got a quick 54 seconds of time on the power play.

"You don't really think about how many minutes you play. You just want to play well," he said.

Smith logged 19:25.


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