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A rundown on what was discussed during this morning's media availability

by PAUL MAWDSLEY @pmawdsley23 /

Mikael Backlund on the absence of linemate Matthew Tkachuk:

"Chucky's been out before and Bennett's stepped in and played well. A few years ago we played almost a full season with Benny, so we know what to expect and we know how to play with him."

Backlund on the importance of tonight's game:

"Every game now is huge for us. There's not too many that we can let go of. We know where we are at and what we have to do, so we've just got to make that happen.

Backlund on facing Connor McDavid:

"Try to make him stop. But really try to limit that speed. He's really good when he winds up and gets that speed going, he's hard to catch. He's pretty dynamic so we've got to stay on top of him and make sure that he has a hard night."

Mark Giordano on needing to get points tonight:

"You see every night that teams around us are getting points and you're going to see that for the rest of the year. We've got to put ourselves in a good spot to win tonight, come out with a good start and go from there."

Giordano on the team's mentality in tonight's contest:

"A win takes care of a lot of things. For us it's that time of year where we need these points. We've got to be desperate, we've got to play with a lot of emotion, it'll be a fun game to play in. They're a team playing well right now and there's a lot of different ways you could look at it tonight, but for us in here, we need that desperation and we need those two points."

Sam Bennett on tonight's big match-up with the Oilers:

"We know how important this game is. Whether it be against Edmonton or anyone else, it's a must-win for us right now and that's how we're treating it."

Bennett on playing the way he believes he can:

"I think I'm starting to rev up my game and play the way I want to play. It's a matter of continuing to do that and not letting my game slip at all."

Glen Gulutzan on losing Tkachuk from the line-up:

"Obviously when you lose a guy like that, it hurts, especially at this time of the year. Those holes create opportunities for other guys to come in and we've got lots of guys chomping at the bit to come in here and play, so hopefully we get some juice from the guys we're bringing in."

Gulutzan on putting on Bennett on a line with Backlund and Michael Frolik:

"Even before I got here they had played together. Just when we were putting lines together and Sam was playing centre a year and a half ago, Chucky had such a good fit with Backs and Fro, so we kept that line going. If Sam wasn't playing center at the time, he could have easily moved into that spot too. He's going to bump up there tonight and when I talked to Backs and Fro, they thought it was a good move."

Gulutzan on Kris Versteeg:

"He's close. He's close. Yesterday's practice was his first practice with us, so he'll get a skate here today. For me, he's getting real close to game ready."

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