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Paajarvi goes from press box to first line

by Robin Brownlee
EDMONTON -- Rookie Magnus Paajarvi will go from a seat in the press box to a place on the first line with the Edmonton Oilers against the Detroit Red Wings at Rexall Place tonight.

Paajarvi, 19, was a healthy scratch for Saturday's 2-1 loss against the Calgary Flames, but will play left wing on a line with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky against the Red Wings.

"It was frustrating to sit in the press box, for sure, but you learn from that and you move on," Paajarvi said. "I'm playing tonight and I'm excited."

While Paajarvi's 4 goals and 14 points in 35 games are certainly decent numbers, coach Tom Renney thought it best he take a look from up top against the Flames.

"He's a great skater," Renney said. "He's got size and he's got strength and he needs to get the puck and himself to the net. He's got to get in, and stay in, the battles. He's got to go to those tough areas that he will have success in when he realizes he can do that."

Against the Red Wings, who come in having lost two straight, Paajarvi will get a chance to put what he learned into practice alongside Edmonton's two best offensive players.

"They always play within their system and they do it very well," Paajarvi said of Detroit. "We've got to step it up to get two points here, but I feel confident in the team.

"We can't focus too much on them. We've got to make sure that we play (the way) we want to first. Just go out there and don't think too much."

Getting started:
The Oilers were outshot 19-3 in the first period by Calgary and have been outscored 44-24 in first periods this season. Detroit outshot Edmonton 13-7 and led 1-0 after 20 minutes on the way to a 3-1 win at Rexall Place Nov. 5.

Around the rink: The Oilers are 0-4-2 in their six-game losing streak and five of those losses have been by one goal. ... Detroit is without injured Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary. ... The Red Wings have more wins on the road (11-5-1) than the Oilers do at Rexall Place, where they're 6-10-3. ... Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom are both on seven-game points streaks and each have put up 4-7-11 during that stretch. ... Edmonton's power play is scoreless in 12 attempts over its last four games. ... The Red Wings won the first two meetings of the season, taking the 3-1 decision Nov. 5 and romping to a 6-2 victory at Joe Louis Arena on Nov. 11. ... Edmonton assigned Shawn Belle and Ryan O'Marra to Oklahoma City of the AHL on Sunday and recalled Linus Omark and Liam Reddox on Monday.
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