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Lucic looking to find his groove

by Meg Tilley @MegsTilley / EdmontonOilers.com

Last night, the Oilers christened Rogers Place with their first pre-season game against long-time provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames.

A highly anticipate split-squad game that sees both NHL clubs send half their camp roster to one city to play as visitors while the other remains at home, the Oilers swept the two-game night, winning 4-2 at Rogers Place and 2-1 in the Scotiabank Saddledome.

For many of Edmonton's players that remained at home it was their debut night in Rogers Place, while for others - such as Milan Lucic - it was their debut as an Oiler.

"I definitely didn't feel 100 per cent, still kind of gotta find my edges and find the places where I'm comfortable in the corner, winning battles… once I get my game up to where it needs to be, hopefully everything will fit and the chemistry will be there off the start," said Lucic, who's expected to be seen manning the left side of teammate Connor McDavid in the upcoming season. 

"Just one practice with him he seems like a really easy player to play with. You just get him the puck and he does his thing. I've been really fortunate enough to play with some really great centres over my last nine years and here I am getting an opportunity to play with another one. It's exciting for me."

Lucic may not have been feeling 100 per cent, but McDavid, who attended the Battle of Alberta game to watch, said he was already feeling positive vibes.

"I was so happy to watch him play," said McDavid. "Just the way he plays it's going to work well I think. He opens up so much room and he wins battles and he keeps a ton of pucks alive, he's almost a perfect winger for myself." 

While Lucic continues to find his groove among his new teammates, Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan sees a lot of potential in the pairing, but admits there is still a feeling out process that must be explored.

"Watching Lucic last night I thought - first of all Drake Caggiula did a really good job with him as well, and Drake is a quick player, he thinks on his feet, he makes plays happen and you saw the effect that it had with Milan and Jordan [Eberle]," said McLellan. 

"We think Connor can take that up a notch, Milan is big and strong, he has the ability to hold onto pucks and deliver them at the right time, he'll go to the net, a little bit of a policeman on that line as well, so we'll see where it goes. It's a starting point for our team, just like all the lines will be." 

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