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Fellow rookies happy for Eberle's fast start

by Robin Brownlee
EDMONTON -- Taylor Hall and Magnus Paajarvi of the Edmonton Oilers are looking to get on the score sheet against the Florida Panthers tonight after being blanked in Thursday's 4-0 win over the Calgary Flames.

Fellow rookie Jordan Eberle one-upped Hall and Paajarvi with his first NHL goal, and he set the bar high with a brilliant shorthanded effort -- a toe-drag around a sprawling defenseman and a forehand-to-backhand tuck over Miikka Kiprusoff.

"We're definitely pulling for each other," Hall said. "When he scores a goal like that, not only is it good for him but it's good for us. It makes us think, 'We can go out and do that, too.' "

Eberle, 20, has been the brunt of a lot of good-natured ribbing over the goal. TSN's Ryan Rishaug even filed a tongue-in-cheek report featuring interviews with teammates who questioned why Eberle didn't pass to captain Shawn Horcoff, who was breaking in with him on the play.

Horcoff, Hall, Jim Vandermeer and Eberle were in on the gag, which was convincing enough when it aired some fans thought they were chastising him for being a puck hog.

"We're very happy for him," Hall said. "Hopefully, I can get one too within the next couple games here. He has a knack for being in the right spot around the net."

FIGHTING WORDS? Darcy Hordichuk, acquired by the Panthers from Vancouver for Andrew Peters Oct. 6, and Edmonton's Zack Stortini had a bloody scrap in a preseason game between the Canucks and Oilers on Sept 26.

Hordichuk later made a remark to a reporter about cutting Stortini for 25 stitches. At the time, the comments drew the ire of Stortini, who took four stitches in his left eyebrow. This is the first time Hordichuk and Stortini have met since then.

"I know who it's coming from and the type of guy he is," Stortini said. "It's something he's known for, embellishing and things like that.

"For me, it's all about the team. I'm going out there to help our team win. What's done is done and it's no skin off my back, what he says."

AROUND THE RINK: The Panthers have traditionally been slow starters when the season opens. Florida has had a losing record during the first month in 11 of 16 seasons, going 18-26-3 combined over the past four years and 4-7-1 to start 2009-10. … Gilbert Brule, who left the Calgary game with a sore ankle, will play. … Steve MacIntyre won't dress.

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