Tyler Pitlick was taken in the second round of the 2010 draft. Since then, Pitlick has been trying to break into the NHL on a full-time basis. He made his greatest stride yet last season when he played 10 games in the NHL, and scored his first goal. Injuries derailed that welcome to the NHL party, but Pitlick is locked in a battle this year for a spot out of training camp.
“I’m feeling good,” Pitlick said. “I think it’s there for me, I just need to keep playing well and hopefully I make it.”
After a good game last week against Winnipeg, Pitlick gets a great opportunity to move closer to that fourth-line winger spot with the Oilers against the same team he faced last week. Here at Rexall Place tonight, Pitlick will be skating on the top line with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
“It will definitely be fun playing with those guys,” he said. “They’re really skilled guys but I’ve just got to stick with what I know, which is playing hard, hitting guys and just playing simple.”
BRUSHING UP ON HIS RUSSIAN
Kevin Westgarth might be the only forward on his line speaking English tonight against the Jets. He’s skating with the Russian duo of Vladimir Tkachev and Bogdan Yakimov. He better start brushing up on his Russian.
“It’s improving, but I’ll keep working on it,” Westgarth laughed.
Westgarth is is excited to play with the dynamic duo, which has been an impressive pair thus far in pre-season.
“They both see the game really well,” he said. “Obviously, they both have a lot of skill. It’s nice to have ‘Big Bo’ in the middle, he’s a big, strong body. Vlady on the other side has got an abundance of skill and seeing some of the things they did last game, I just look forward to being a part of that.”
HUNT ON NURSE
Defenceman Brad Hunt gets an opportunity to play with a talented rookie tonight when the Oilers take on Winnipeg. Hunt will be paired with 2013 seventh-overall pick Darnell Nurse.
“He’s an excellent player,” Hunt said. “He’s an up-and-coming star in this league, so I’ve just got to play how I play and I know how he’ll play. We’ve just got to look out for each other and we both will just help each other on the ice.”
While paired with Nurse, Hunt will be trying to make an impression on the organization, hoping to stay in the battle for a roster spot. Hunt, an AHL Second-Team All Star last year, says he’ll play the same way he has been.
“Play how I’ve been playing down in the AHL and what got me here. I can’t change anything other than trying to get better every day in practice. But when it comes to the games, just play my game, go out there and work hard, play smart and that’s all you can really ask for.”
UP FRONT: Tyler Pitlick will man the right wing on a line with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The two Russian rookies Vladimir Tkachev and Bogdan Yakimov will once again skate together. Kevin Westgarth rounds out that line. Benoit Pouliot is with Will Acton and Andrew Miller, while the fourth line features two youthful forwards (Mitch Moroz and Travis Ewanyk) and a veteran (Steve Pinizzotto).
ON THE BLUE LINE: There is a potential preview of an Oilers regular season pairing on the ice tonight, as off-season acquistions Nikta Niktin and Mark Fayne will patrol the blueline together. 2013 seventh-overall pick Darnell Nurse will be prepared with AHL Second-Team All Star Brad Hunt, and Keith Aulie and David Musil are the third pairing.
BETWEEN THE PIPES: Laurent Brossoit and Viktor Fasth are the two goaltenders tonight against Winnipeg. Fasth will get the start.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Tyler Pitlick is locked in a battle for a fourth-line winger spot with the Oilers. He had a solid game in Winnipeg last week, including a momentum-shifting hit and scoring chance that Head Coach Dallas Eakins said was a key point in the comeback win. Tonight, Pitlick gets an opportunity to not only have a great game but to also move closer to securing a spot on the Oilers roster. He'll be skating with two of the best the Oilers have to offer up front, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.