SUN Hockey Pool

Unfamiliar foe visits town

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:10 AM ET

If you are counting at home, it has been 1,139 days since the Edmonton Oilers and the Tampa Bay Lightning have last played.

In between, the Lightning has won a Stanley Cup, the NHL missed an entire season and the Oilers have gone through a stunning makeover.

When Tampa Bay visits tonight, only three Oilers' skaters will have played against the Bolts on Jan. 22, 2004.

But that is life with an unbalanced NHL schedule.

"I think we have beat the schedule up pretty regularly," quipped Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish yesterday after practice in Sherwood Park.

"I have said all along that the scheduling will all be dependent on what the fans want and it is my understanding and my perception that they would like to see everybody.

"So, I think that will ultimately be served."

Shawn Horcoff, Steve Staios and Raffi Torres make up the trio that played against the Lightning three years ago.

Tommy Salo started in goal. Brad Isbister and Radek Dvorak scored in a 3-2 loss.

Remember them?

It also means that four of Edmonton's defencemen tonight will be playing their first game against the high-powered duo of Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis - who were first and third, respectively, in NHL scoring entering last night.

Staios and Jason Smith have combined to play 38 games against the Lightning in their careers.

Jan Hejda, Matt Greene, Ladislav Smid and Danny Syvret haven't played a minute against the Bolts.

"From a defensive standpoint," said Oilers assistant Charlie Huddy, "they (Lecavalier and St. Louis) have got good one-on-one skills, which they can beat you with."


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