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Oilers' Teubert takes advantage

Edmonton Oilers' Colten Teubert hits Colorado Avalanche's Cody McLeod during third period NHL...

Edmonton Oilers' Colten Teubert hits Colorado Avalanche's Cody McLeod during third period NHL action at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta on Friday, December 9, 2011. (AMBER BRACKEN/QMI AGENCY)

Robert Tychkowski, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:51 AM ET

EDMONTON - One man's curse is another man's blessing and Colten Teubert is that man.

The second one.

Andy Sutton's suspension means he gets another chance to step into the Oilers lineup

"Things happen for a reason," said the 21-year-old defenceman. "Obviously it's a difficult situation for Suttsy and our team for him to be out, but I'm ready to step in and play solid and try and fill the void.

"It wasn't planned that he was going to be suspended but I'm ready to go and just excited for this opportunity."

Minutes are hard to come by when you're a rookie blueliner, so this is a big opportunity to get some experience and traction for his career development.

"Any time you get a chance to play a game in the NHL you have to play it like it's going to be your last."

Sutton will have his hearing with Brendan Shanahan on Saturday. He's facing five or more games and likely in the 8-10 range. He's already served five games for his hit on Gabriel Landeskog, so by the time he comes back from his latest suspension it'll be neck and neck between games played (16) and games suspended....

ABOUT LAST NIGHT

With three goals in three games, Sam Gagner is scoring at a Ladislav Smid-like pace for Edmonton. Slowed by injuries early on, he's found his stride, has elite linemates and has gone from having one foot on the scrap heap to fitting right in with the other kids É As well as the Oilers played on Friday night, it still would have been a tough two points if not for Nikolai Khabibulin. He made this one look a lot easier than it was... Normally it's a bad thing when somebody stays out there for the while two minutes on a power play, but when that somebody is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, wow. The comparison people shouldn't be making between RNH and another skinny Oilers centre is getting harder and harder not to make... Rumour out of Denver is that Avs winger Brandon Yip misses a lot of tap ins... Ben Eager has one up on Tyler Seguin: he got his wake-up call. In the last two games he's looked everything like the big, fast multi-threat forward Edmonton expected when they signed him in the summer.

BACK TO BASICS

Everyone's heard of Manny being Manny. Well, Ryan Smyth wants to see a little more of Smytty being Smytty.

He's drifted from his game in the last two weeks, dropping from his blistering October pace to one point in six games heading into last night.

"It's a confidence thing," said the veteran winger. "You want to try and maintain that confidence and that consistency."

Like the rest of the team, he'd been having trouble with that lately.

"To overcome that you have to simplify things. Maybe I've tried to over do things. I just have to get back to the basics and doing the little things, going to the net. I think I've gotten a little bit away from my game and I have to get back to that."

The 35-year-old dismisses the notion he's tired, though.

"I enjoy playing the minutes, I get involved in the game and I feel emotionally attached to it."

MESSAGE SENT

Friday night was something of a statement game for the Oilers, who needed to prove to everyone - fans, coaches and even themselves - that they've got the stomach to navigate tough water.

Four wins in their previous 14 games, and a long list of injuries qualifies as tough water, but they looked dynamite in beating the Colorado Avalanche.

"Maybe we were licking our wounds and feeling sorry for ourselves," said head coach Tom Renney. "It doesn't matter if it's fatigue or injuries, you have to man up and get it done."

KILL OR BE KILLED

Edmonton's penalty killing, once in the NHL's top 5, has dropped to 16th thanks to a rough patch of 10 goals against in eight games.

Part of the problem is they're being overworked. When the Oilers stop moving their feet, which had been the case recently, they take more penalties than they draw.

"We've left ourselves behind the 8-ball by taking second penalties," said Renney. "The too many men on the ice penalties, and taking that second minor to help the other team out with a little 5-on-3 practice would be a good idea."

HELP ON THE WAY

Some reinforcements on the blueline isn't far away now that Corey Potter is practising with the team and gearing up for his return.

"The goal was next Thursday, I'm shooting for either that or next weekend," said Potter, who's been out three weeks with a sprained ankle.

"It's definitely frustrating watching, you'd rather be out there to help out a bit, battling with the boys, but the only thing you can do is try and get yourself better as soon as possible.

"It's been a long three weeks, definitely, sitting and watching the team play."

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

@SUN_TYCHKOWSKI

 


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