Fourth line sparks Oilers

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

While Zack Stortini and J.F. Jacques seem like perfect bookends for a good fourth line -- big, physical wingers who love to bang the body on the forecheck -- they haven't always translated into momentum changers on the ice.

That's why both players have done time in the press box this season.

But if they could bottle Monday night's game against Carolina, it'll be a long time before they're eating popcorn on press row again.

The line, with Marc Pouliot at centre, scored twice against the 'Canes and finished plus- two. They had the visitors pinned in their end on almost every shift.

"The main thing with the other games we played is we spent time in their zone but we weren't putting pucks to the net and we weren't crashing the net," said Jacques, who scored his fourth of the season. "That's the only reason we had success last game.

"As a fourth line, we want to get in on their D and work them down low. The best way to finish a game for us is to play in their zone. The more time we spend in their zone, the odds are we'll play a better game."

Pouliot was going to be a healthy scratch until Ryan Potulny fell ill. He made the best of his second chance with a goal and an assist.

"I just wanted to get involved physically; that's what they want me to do," he said. "I want to play every game. I don't want to be a healthy scratch; I want to show them they were wrong.

"Jocko and Storts played really well. We played a lot of minutes in their zone, which creates chances."

Against a big and rugged Philadelphia team, the undersized Oilers will need their fourth unit going again.

"They have a pretty big team, they have a lot of skill and a lot of grit with their third and fourth line," said Jacques. "That's something we look forward to."

Meanwhile, defenceman Ladislav Smid, who's missed five games with a concussion after being blindsided by Vancouver's Mason Raymond, figures to be back in the lineup on Edmonton's upcoming road trip.

"I felt pretty good," he said. "I have to catch up my conditioning, but it felt OK. It was really good to feel the puck on the stick after almost a week.

"If I'm going to be symptom free then I should be back in three or four days."

LATE HITS: Sheldon Souray had surgery on his broken hand yesterday, meaning he will be out until well after the March 3 trade deadline.


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