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Smyth ready to go

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers

by Marc Ciampa

After a bit of a scare on Monday night, Ryan Smyth is ready to go this evening as the Oilers take on the St. Louis Blues.

The game tonight kicks off a season-high seven-game homestand.

"I think it's a good task for us," said Smyth about playing at home for the next seven games. "We've been pretty successful in the past and hopefully we can continue that here."

The Oilers have been very strong on home ice this season. They won their first six games at Rexall Place before dropping their last two against Nashville and Dallas.

"If we can play good, sound hockey and simplify our game we can continue what we've done," Smyth mentioned.

Tonight's game will also have a bit of an ironic twist as a former teammate of Smyth's, Doug Weight, will be playing in his 1000th NHL game. Weight spent 588 of those games in an Oilers uniform - many of those on the same line as Smyth.

"It's a huge accomplishment in this league. He played here over 500 games and I was fortunate enough to play with the guy," Smyth stated. "Hats off to him, he deserves every bit of it."

Weight scored 157 goals and added 420 assists during his time as an Oiler, spending many of his years as team captain.

Smyth was perplexed as to why the Blues have had so much success against the Oilers, particularly of late. The Oilers have not had a record above .500 against St. Louis since 1997-98 and in each of the last five seasons they've been 1-2-1 against the Missouri-based club.

"We've played well against them but haven't come up with wins."

The misfortune continued this past Sunday afternoon when the Blues stunned the Oilers, defeating them 5-3.

"Some teams have confidence, some different players individually step up their game and find a way to have an edge on teams," Smyth said.

But despite that lack of success, the team's leading goal-scorer with 12 goals was looking forward to some possible redemption tonight.

"It's a good challenge. A good stepping stone for us," Smyth said. "I don't think it's going to be hard to get up for this one."
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