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Omark, Paajarvi get first chance to skate together

by Robin Brownlee /
EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers will feature a Swedish connection when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rexall Place on Thursday as coach Tom Renney has rookie forwards Linus Omark and Magnus Paajarvi on a line with centre Ryan O'Marra.

It marks a first for Omark, who hails from Overtornea, and Paajarvi, who is from Norrkoping. They have been teammates on various Swedish national teams in the past, but never have been linemates.

"He's a skilled player, so skate hard, create your own ice and the puck will be there," Paajarvi said of Omark.

Omark, 23, will play on the left wing in his fourth game with the Oilers. Paajarvi, 19, will play the right side.

"It's going to be fun," Omark said. "Teammates but never linemates, because we usually play the same side.

"He has great speed. I think it's going to work good. If I give him the puck with speed, he's going to have a good game, I think."

O'Marra, who was recalled from AHL Oklahoma City on Dec. 8 along with Omark, was his regular center with the Barons.

"O'Marra has to learn Swedish," Omark said.

"We're going to have some Swedish lessons here," Paajarvi added. "He's going to do fine. He's going to hit a lot, get us the puck and we're going to create something, hopefully."

Nothing special -- The Blue Jackets enter Thursday's games with the 29th-ranked power play in the NHL, with just 15 goals in 123 attempts (12.2 percent). The Jackets are much better on the road (16th, 16.1 percent) than at home (30th, 9.0 percent).

Edmonton's penalty killing gave up two goals in a 4-1 loss to Toronto Tuesday and is ranked 30th at 71.3 percent.

Around the rink -- The Oilers have lost two straight games, and their inability to put the puck in the net has been the story as they lost 2-1 to Vancouver on Sunday and 4-1 to Toronto on Tuesday. ... The Blue Jackets are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss in Vancouver on Wednesday and are 2-5-3 in their last 10 games. ... Thursday's game wraps a six-game homestand for the Oilers, who are 5-8-2 this season at Rexall Place. ... Rick Nash, who scored the shootout winner in a 3-2 win against Edmonton in Columbus on Oct. 28, leads the Blue Jackets with 17 goals and 25 points. ... Defenseman Ryan Whitney leads the Oilers in scoring with 22 points, all of them assists. ... Thursday is the first game in Edmonton for former Oilers captain Ethan Moreau, now a member of the Blue Jackets.
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