Eyes on the prize!

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

Craig MacTavish has no intention of eyeballing Wayne Gretzky behind the Phoenix Coyotes' bench.

He's got too much on his mind trying to dig the Edmonton Oilers out of a three-game hole.

"I'll be keeping my eyes on their players and keeping my eyes away from him. That's my game plan anyway," said the Oilers' bench boss.

"We've had a lot of experiences together but you've got to block that out for the game.

"I'd like to say that we'll get together and say hello after the game, but one of us will be leaving here unhappy so that's unlikely to happen."

MacTavish wasn't the happiest of campers on the ice during a practice session yesterday.

With the Oilers on a three-game slide, players were working on a variety of drills aimed at sparking some goal-scoring.

After assistant coach Craig Simpson had demonstrated ways to orchestrate deflection attempts, the Oilers were taken to task by MacTavish for casually turning away from the net following a shot on goal.

'NOT GETTING IT DONE'

"It's not a day at the beach here and we want to rectify that in a hurry," said MacTavish. "We have the players to get the job done but we're not getting it done right now."

The threat of some bag-skating got the boss's point across.

"(The message was) a little more discipline," admitted Jarret Stoll.

"Sometimes you just forget little things like stopping in front for a rebound. But it was good - you do it in practice, you do it in a game. We've got to find grittier ways to get goals - just bearing down in front of the net.

"We worked on those little things a little bit more than we used to because we're not doing it as much in the game.

'MOST GOALS ARE REBOUNDS'

"Scoring goals is a tough thing to do and very rarely are you going to beat a goalie with a clean shot. Most goals are rebounds, garbage goals, and that's what we need."

Whether they come from breakaways, tap-ins or blistering slapshots, the Oilers have to find an answer for the sudden goal drought.

"We've had ample opportunities on the power play and 5-on-5 we'd like to see ourselves create a little more,"said Michael Peca, who's had his own troubles, like a failed 2-on-1 chance against Dallas.

"I'm getting chances but I've been fighting it in certain areas which was why I worked a little longer with Craig Simpson today on things down low. Hopefully it pays off."

OIL SPILLS: Utility man Todd Harvey tried to skate yesterday but it was a no-go and he remains sidelined with a sprained ankle ... Raffi Torres was sporting five stitches in his bottom lip and lost one tooth after taking a puck in the mouth late in Saturday's game in Calgary. "It's pretty tough to eat,"said Torres ... Defencemen Alexei Semenov and Igor Ulanov were both nicked up in yesterday's practice, with Ulanov sporting a bandage right between his eyes in the locker room.


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