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November 1, 2011 6:15 pm

New-look Oilers, and old friend, come to town

The Pittsburgh Penguins come to town on Saturday, but is it possible that the most interesting game of the week is Thursday’s game against Edmonton? The Oilers are off to a 7-2-2 start and have won five consecutive games. The Oilers have been built around a group of talented young forwards, including 18-year-old Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but a couple veterans have been getting the job done as well. Nikolai Khabibulin, 38, has been a force in net so far, with a 1.12 goals-against average and a .960 save percentage in seven games, while Ryan Smyth, 35, is tied for the team lead with five goals. They will provide a challenge to Drew Doughty and the rest of the Kings…

DOUGHTY: “We know there’s a lot of skill on that team. They’re fast and they’re going to be good on the power play, stuff like that. We’re not going to take them lightly. Even though they’re young, they’ve got a lot of skill and they can put the puck in the net. As a D core, I know we’re going to take a lot of pride in shutting them down in the next game, and I know Quickie is going to do a great job as well. So we’re looking forward to that game, to play Smytty again, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.’’

Of course, this will be Smyth’s first game against the Kings since his offseason trade. Smyth asked to be traded closer to his home and the Kings accommodated him. Smyth is showing that he still has something left in the tank, and there won’t be any surprises for Terry Murray and the Kings…

MURRAY: “The one thing that Ryan Smyth always did for us was his play in front of the net. He really played hard in the offensive zone. He made plays from below the net and scored some very big goals for us. … He’s got a great stick and hand-eye coordination, and that’s where he contributes. … His game is not going to change after this many years. He’s a real character guy, a veteran of the game.’’

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