ST. PAUL — The Edmonton Oilers are heading back to what worked for them the last time they were out on the road.
Wednesday when they face the Minnesota Wild, the lineup up front will be similar to the one used on their previous excursion away from home, with one exception.
Ryan Potulny will be centring the top line between Dustin Penner and Gilbert Brule.
“We blew the lineup for (Monday’s) game, and even though four of those goals were scored on the power play, it’s hard to identify when seven pucks go in, how to evaluate your players and how your lines played,” said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn. “The initial thought was to go right back to how we were when we did pretty well in those five games on the road that we won. So most of the lines are that way and the only adjustment I made was putting Potulny where (Sam) Gagner was.
“The reason for that was because Potulny has been very good he’s very conscientious defensively and he’s been a pretty consistent scorer on what you would call not a scoring line. We’re going to give it a try here, we want to look for that balance. I think (Shawn) Horcoff and (J-F) Jacques and (Patrick)O’Sullivan did a decent job on that road trip, so hopefully like will get resurrected.”
Heading into Wednesday’s contest, Potulny has six goals and five assists in 20 games.
The native of Grand Forks, North Dakota, who played his college hockey with the University of Minnesota, started the season in the minors with the Springfield Falcons.
“It’s nice when you get a chance to play with those two, with the year Penner is having, it seems like everything he’s touching turns into gold,” Potulny said. “I’m just going to try keep doing what I’m doing, keep the puck moving and keep my feet moving also.”
Acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Flyers for defenceman Danny Syvret in June, 2008, Potulny scored more goals than any other player in the organization last season, netting 38 with the Falcons.
Having received an opportunity to play with the Oilers because of injuries to Fernando Pisani, Mike Comrie and Marc Pouliot and Ales Hemsky, Potulny is trying to make the most of it.
“I just try to use my hockey sense whenever I can, that’s probably one of my biggest assets,” he said. “Speed is one thing I worked on this summer. I work hard on my skating and leg strength.”
Despite playing on the top line, Potulny is not going to change the style of game that put him in the coach’s good books to begin with.
“I think I'll just play my game and keep doing what I’m doing and if the offense is there it’ll come,” he said. “I just want to keep playing a strong two-way game and if I do that, I’ll get my chances playing with those guys.”