Penner back in action

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:42 PM ET

COLUMBUS -- The Edmonton Oilers are hoping Dustin Penner got the message.

After sitting out the last two games as a healthy scratch, the big winger is expected to be back in the lineup tonight (5 p.m.) against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"It's up to me to try and do what they ask of me," Penner said yesterday following an optional morning skate. "I have to make a commitment to play a better overall game."

Through the first 16 games this season, Penner has three goals and an assist. Two of those goals came on opening night in a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

Since then, Penner has struggled to produce offensively and on Sunday Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish called him out publicly.

Penner was relegated to the press box and watched the Oilers lose at home to the Avalanche, and on the road to the Detroit Red Wings.

"It's definitely tough watching your teammates out there when you can't be part of it,' Penner said.

"But you do notice a lot of different things that you probably wouldn't have noticed if you weren't up in the press box.'

Last season, Penner led the Oilers with 23 goals.

He scored 29 the previous season with the Anaheim Ducks then added another three in the playoffs on the way to the Stanley Cup title.

That summer Penner signed a five-year, $21.25-million offer sheet with the Oilers, which the Ducks refused to match.

"It'll be interesting to see how he plays tonight," said MacTavish. "He's had lots of high-level games, but there's been lots of low-level games too. It's a matter of developing consistency in his game and tonight will be a good starting point for that."


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