Plante shines in debut

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

In reality, Alex Plante would probably not have been called up if the Springfield Falcons had a healthy selection of defenceman to choose from.

But the former first-round draft pick didn't look out of place on the Oilers' blue lune Monday night.

Plante played 12 minutes, picked up an assist and finished plus-two on the night in his NHL debut, as the Oilers snapped an ugly 13-game losing skid with a 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

"It was exciting," said Plante. "I just tried to keep calm and treat it like any other game and just do what I have to do to help the team be successful."

Selected 15th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, expectations are high on the six-foot-four, 225-pound native of Brandon, Man.

He has spent the entire season with the Falcons in the American Hockey League, scoring a pair of goals and adding seven assists in 48 games.

"He was quite good," said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn.

"He handled a two-on-one terrifically when his partner got caught up ice. He got a point early by just doing a simple thing and putting it on net.

"He got out of trouble when he needed to get out of trouble. He was simple and effective.

"It feels good to be able to cheer about something in a young man."

Plante's services were required when Sheldon Souray fractured a hand in a fight against Jarome Iginla in Calgary on Saturday.

The Oilers were already down a pair of defencemen at the time with Ladislav Smid and Steve Staios still out of the lineup with concussion issues.

"I think when it hit me the most was coming out at the start of the game," Plante said.

"That's something that you always dream of, coming out on the ice in an NHL uniform. I was ecstatic."


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