Dubnyk to start for Oilers

Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk will start in net Thursday night against the Blue Jackets. (SUPPLIED)

Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk will start in net Thursday night against the Blue Jackets. (SUPPLIED)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:44 PM ET

COLUMBUS -- Let's hope Devan Dubnyk remembers where the nets are.

It's been a long time since he's played a regular season game, some seven months, but he'll finally get a start tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With Nikolai Khabibulin getting a much-needed rest, Dubnyk is stepping in to try and snap Edmonton's losing streak (0-4-1).

"Almost a month, more like three weeks ago (in training camp)," said Dubnyk, trying to recall the last time he faced a puck in a situation where they kept score. "That's part of the game. I'll take a few minutes to get back into it. It's not like it takes half a game to get back into it, it's usually just a couple of minutes and a couple of shots. I try to not to over-think it."

Goalie is not an easy position at the best of times, but hopping in cold on a team that's lost five in a row isn't anyone's best-case scenario.

"There's no way to really be game-ready because practice isn't the same," said Dubnyk. "There's no way to get game-ready in practice, but what you can do is just prepare the same way, like you would be if you were playing, and not have polar opposite routines when you're playing or not playing.

"It was a different situation last year that I came into (when Khabibulin was out with back surgery and Dubnyk appeared in 19 games, playing regularly down the stretch). You understand at the beginning of the season that I'm not going to play every other game. I'm going to battle to earn my time, and when I get a chance, play well.

"The most important thing for tonight is we try to win a hockey game. Whether we win 10-9 or 1-0, that's my main focus."

Dubnyk's start means even more moss will be growing on the pads of third goalie Jeff Deslauriers. Khabibulin will likely start Friday in Chicago, then the Oilers get three days before playing Vancouver (plenty of time for the Russian netminder to freshen up), then play only once in four days after that.

The next potential start for somebody other the Khabibulin might not come until the second week of November, when they play three games in four nights on the road.


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