Home cookin' for Oil Kings?

CRASH CAMERON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

It flu right past.

But they are still a little woozy.

That can be a residual symptom when you go 1-3-3 on a seven-game road trip.

While the Edmonton Oil Kings mostly rid themselves of the flu that ripped through their dressing room -- and mostly got their roster back in order -- they continued to struggle racking up two-point games.

"Well, obviously it didn't calculate into the points we wanted," said head coach Steve Pleau yesterday. "But we competed hard and we were in every game.

"Five on five, we've been pretty good. Our special teams aren't going very well right now. That's something we have to continue to work on and something we've got to fix."

The power play has struggled all season, but the penalty kill has fallen from near-the-league-top to near bottom.

The road trip was a case of survival mode, said Pleau. Points in two overtime and one shootout loss cushioned the fall somewhat, but the Kings (8-12-2-4) are sitting ahead of only the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL Eastern Conference.

- The team hopes the flu season is over. Tomas Vincour missed the B.C. swing, but scored in each of the three games he played. And, after Cam Lanigan started the first three games, Torrie Jung has played the last four while racking up the same kind of high save totals he did last year.

Of course, the bad news is that the goalies still have to make that many saves for the Kings to be close.

"I think they had a legitimate excuse for a while in terms of the injuries, the illnesses, a tough schedule and all that," said Oil Kings play-by-play man A.J. Jakubec. "But now they have to start winning games -- especially at home.

"You look around the league and see teams like Swift Current and Prince Albert, teams that they will be battling for position within the conference, those teams are dominant at home. Now the Oil Kings need to find a way to get better on home ice."

- The Kings will hit the ice tonight against the Spokane Chiefs with a full lineup for the first time since the season began.

"Right now, we've got 15 healthy forwards and Bob (Green) just made a trade, so we're back to having seven defencemen," said Pleau.

GM Green acquired Lane Werbowski from the Tri-City Americans. The 18-year-old D-man replaces Henrik Tervonen who left the team for personal reasons.

- With the hosses, bulls and dirt cleared out of Rexall Place after the Canadian Finals Rodeo, Pleau hopes his team feels at home again in the big barn.

"I hope they are excited," said Pleau.

The Oil Kings players (and coaches, too?) will be sporting mustaches tonight as well as wearing double-blue uniforms in support of the Movember campaign for Prostate Cancer Canada. The first 1,000 fans will get fake mustaches and 12 of the sweaters will be auctioned off after the game, with two being raffled.

As much as the home crowd, it's the facility itself, said Pleau.

The logistics of the road is "not an easy thing for the trainers and for everybody, so it's nice to get back to Rexall."

DAVID.CAMERON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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