SUN Hockey Pool

Fourth and goals

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:54 PM ET

Despite all the permutations and combinations, it's a line that has been left relatively intact.

The Edmonton Oilers' fourth line of Geoff Sanderson, Marty Reasoner and Kyle Brodziak has been a fixture for the team this season. And now they are starting to play their best hockey of the year.

"I think we started off the year really well and then things kind of went south - they kind of went south for everybody," said Reasoner. "But we've been playing pretty well lately. I think (Saturday) we played pretty well, got some chances and we were lucky to be able to contribute in the third period."

In Saturday's 3-2 shootout victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, Reasoner scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, converting a feed from Brodziak in front of the net.

The goal was Reasoner's second on the season and second in three games.

"They're playing well," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "The thing that we wrestle with as coaches is that you have a good fourth line, a line that can check - do you want to take an element or two from that line to try and elevate it to get a second or third line?"

Instead, MacTavish continued to throw the fourth line over the boards against Chicago on Saturday. It paid off with the go-ahead goal.

"If Horc (Shawn Horcoff) and Hemmer (Ales Hemsky) go out there and get some momentum happening, somebody has to be able to follow it up," MacTavish said. "The most likely case of sustaining that momentum (Saturday) was made by the fourth line."

And while the fourth line is prominently used in checking role, they are needed to chip in offensively, especially when the units above them are struggling to score.

"I think we're definitely a line that is capable of scoring goals," Brodziak said. "I think the more we can pitch in with a big goal the better. It definitely takes some pressure off the top couple of lines."


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