SUN Hockey Pool

If it ain't broke ...

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:11 AM ET

It's one of the oldest adages in sports.

Never mess with a winning streak.

So despite being healthy and ready to go, Dick Tarnstrom and Geoff Sanderson may have to wait their turn to get back in the lineup.

"It's easy not to make a change, generally," said Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "The team is playing so well and those guys are both veteran players and we have young guys that are playing well.

"At some point you're going to need the experience and those guys will be a great benefit to us."

Sanderson, 35, has not played a game in over two weeks with back spasms.

Up to that point, he had been playing some of his best hockey of the season, registering five points in his previous six games.

"It was pretty bad back pain," Sanderson said. "I've never had back pain like that before. I was real concerned about it early on.

"I thought I did something that would linger on - a nerve or a disk - that's how much discomfort I was in.

"But it cleared up over the last 10 days and I'm really happy where I'm at."

Depending on how Raffi Torres feels today after tweaking a knee in Detroit, Sanderson could get back into the lineup as early as tonight when the Oilers host the Vancouver Canucks.

If not, the veteran is willing to wait for his next opportunity.

"Things are going well and a lot of guys are playing really well," Sanderson said.

"That's good for the team. For me personally, it's tough. But it is pretty exciting for our team that we're playing well and our goal is to make the playoffs.

"They didn't bring me here to complain about ice time or be a cancer, so I'm excited for the young guys playing well."

Tarnstrom, meanwhile, appears ready to go after suffering a concussion on Nov. 24 when hit by Chicago Blackhawks six-foot-three, 246-pound defenceman Dustin Byfuglien.

"I'm feeling good," Tarnstrom said. "It's getting better each day and right now I feel like I can play, so if they want me to play (tonight), then I'll play."

Tarnstrom, 32, has a goal and four assists in 20 games for the Oilers this season. He's missed the last 10 games due to post-concussion symptoms.

"It's hard with a concussion, because you really don't know if you're ready or not," he said. "Right now I assume I'm ready because I feel good.

"It's hard because with another injury you can play through it, but with a head injury it's different. But the symptoms are pretty much gone, so I'm feeling pretty confident."


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