SUN Hockey Pool

Top trio hopes for some fine tuning

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

DALLAS -- It took seven preseason games to finally see the Edmonton Oilers' projected opening night lineup.

Last night in Dallas they played their top four lines, best three defensive pairings and starting goaltender.

It was the first time all preseason the Oilers have iced their entire team.

"It's good to have a dry run. We look forward to seeing how it meshes together," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish.

The Oilers went in against the Stars, having won just one of their previous six preseason games.

That would be concerning if they had played more than two of their top four lines in each of those contests. The team needed to see whether some of the younger players such as Rob Schremp, Gilbert Brule, Taylor Chorney and Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers were ready to play at the NHL level.

Drouin-Deslauriers appears to be ready and will be on the team's opening-night roster, forcing the Oilers into the uncomfortable position of carrying three goaltenders.

The rest - including Schremp - appear to be heading back to the Oilers AHL affiliate in Springfield for more seasoning.

The expected top trio of Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff and Erik Cole were reunited.

"I think this will gave us a good sense of who we are and where we're at," said Cole. "But at the same time, it's the first game with everyone.

"It's one thing to get your numbers down and get together as a group on the ice. But it's quite another to figure things out as a group."

With a healthy Horcoff, a happy Hemsky and a rejuvenated Cole, the Oilers hope to see some dominating performances from that unit this season.

"We're fine-tuning their game collectively as they are individually trying to fine-tune their own games," MacTavish said.

"It's just a case of continuing to try and work on the chemistry the three of them should have once they get some familiarity with each other ... But they're veterans and they're focused in."


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