SUN Hockey Pool

Three's company

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

It's as though the trio has been together for years.

At least that's what it looked like as Petr Sykora, Ales Hemsky and Patrick Thoresen ripped into the Phoenix Coyotes Monday.

The Edmonton Oilers' second line combined for 10 points against the Coyotes.

They'll be back together tonight when the Oilers face the Anaheim Ducks.

"We played pretty well together, we forechecked hard and created some chances," said Hemsky.

"You know Petr will be able to find some open space. You know he will be in the slot, so it's easy for me to find him because he's able to find some open space.

"Patrick is playing hard, he's forechecking hard, he creates a lot of chances and he gives great passes."

Thoresen was moved up to the second line two games ago when the Oilers hosted the Detroit Red Wings.

Since then the Oilers rookie has more than doubled his point total. Against the Coyotes, the native of Oslo, Norway, had three assists.

"We just clicked from the beginning," Thoresen said. "We just have to stay focused and keep doing the things that we are doing. It's a lot of fun playing with them."

MOVED HIM UP

Originally Raffi Torres lined up beside Sykora and Hemsky. However with Thoresen playing so well through the first six games of the season on the fourth line, head coach Craig MacTavish decided to move him up to the second line.

"I don't want to take anything away from Raffi, because Raffi did a great job for us too, we had a lot of chances too," Sykora said. "They're kind of similar players, going to the net and making plays. They both bring a lot of speed to the line too. Right now we are scoring, we had chances and the puck went in for us. (Thoresen) is making plays out there and he's fit in really well."

So far this season Sykora and Thoresen have been two of the biggest surprises.

Sykora signed a one-year deal during the off-season and has gotten off to the best start of his career.

TOP SCORER

The native of Plzen, Czech Republic, leads the team in scoring with six goals and seven assists for 13 points in eight games. Hemsky has two goals and six assists, while Thoresen has two goals and four assists.

"I know if I work hard I know those are two guys who can give me the puck," Thoresen said. "They are skilled players and I'm just trying to do my best to find room and get to the front of the net and do my job."

Thoresen himself is proving to be a pretty skilled player. On Monday he made a great pass to set up Torres on the Oilers first goal.

Then on the fourth goal, he won the puck along the board and slid it to Hemsky, who found Sykora in the high slot.

"Petr is a really smart player and he knows where to go to put himself into position where he can open up and get some shots," MacTavish said.

"Hemmer (Hemsky) is certainly a guy that's going to find him. And Thor (Thoresen) is a guy that's going to get to the forecheck for them. He had a pretty good read on the forecheck on the pretty important fourth goal and made that play. It's been a good unit so far and it's been so far, so good."


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