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Oilers have lineup questions as they face Senators

by Adam Kimelman

OILERS (16-31-9) at SENATORS (21-22-10)

TV: CBC, TVA SPORTS, SN

Season series: The Edmonton Oilers rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit to force overtime, but Mike Hoffman's goal at 2:39 of the extra session lifted the Ottawa Senators to a 4-3 victory in the first game.

Oilers team scope: Coach Todd Nelson said Friday that his lineup for Saturday remains in question. Forward Benoit Pouliot practiced Friday and could return after missing the past five games because of a foot injury. Forward Matt Hendricks sat out practice Friday after he was hit in the ankle with a shot Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens. Nelson said each player would be re-evaluated Saturday morning. Despite the lineup questions, Nelson said he and the players were enjoying their 4-3 overtime win against the Canadiens. "[Saturday] morning we'll get geared up for Ottawa," he told the Oilers website. "It was a big win for our hockey club. We played well. We stuck with our game plan. Today was a good day for the guys to enjoy themselves. We worked hard; it was short, but the guys worked hard and we can enjoy this because it was a big win for us."

Senators team scope: Coach Dave Cameron would not commit to a lineup for Saturday, saying he was considering making changes to a group that is 1-3-1 in its past five games. He did say Robin Lehner would start in goal for the eighth straight game. When Cameron looks at the Oilers he sees a team similar to the Senators. Each is struggling but playing better since making coaching changes. "I think they're a lot like us," Cameron said Friday, according to the Senators website. "They're trying to establish an identity, trying to figure out what they are. The style of play they have to play. They have played better since the coaching change for sure. We're going to have to be aware [Saturday], but that's where we are as a team. There's nobody we can put a check mark next to and say they're struggling more than we are so we should be OK tomorrow. We're in the same boat."

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