SUN Hockey Pool

Raffi delivers in droves

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

Raffi Torres seems to score in bunches.

The 24-year-old celebrated his most recent birthday with a pair of powerplay goals and the extracurricular winner in the Edmonton Oilers' 4-3 shootout victory over the Vancouver Canucks Oct. 8.

Two days later, Torres struck again with a pair of goals -- one on the powerplay and another into an empty cage -- against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in a 4-2 Oilers win.

But the goose eggs have been coming in bunches recently, too.

The Oilers haven't won in four games and Torres hasn't scored since their last victory.

"The last few games haven't been very (successful)," said Torres yesterday afternoon in the visitors' locker-room at the Saddledome as Edmonton prepared for last night's game against the Calgary Flames.

The 6-ft., 216-lb. winger says the remedy, for both he and his ailing club, is getting back to basics.

"Just keeping it simple," said Torres. "We've got to get the puck to the net and just little things like that. Those first few games, we were fearless. Trying new things and just going out playing and having fun. We've just got to get back to basics."

Torres has become a scoring threat in the NHL, especially when he has a little extra room on the man-advantage. His trio of powerplay goals has him tied with eight others for second most in the league behind Jaromir Jagr's eight.

The Toronto product joined the Oilers for the 2003-04 season and enjoyed a 20-goal, 34-point campaign -- his first full year in the NHL.

Torres spent the lockout season with the AHL Edmonton Road Runners and potted 21 goals in a 46-point effort he considers a disappointment.

"I wasn't too happy about it," said Torres. "The team didn't make the playoffs. I got 20-something goals ... but it doesn't make a difference when your team doesn't make the playoffs. It definitely was disappointing.

"I just felt like I didn't give everything I had."

Torres gives his all every time he lines up an opponent for a hit. The scrappy Oiler and Flames rookie Dion Phaneuf had a pre-season exchange develop into a feud.

"He's a big kid. He's pretty solid. You've got to keep your head up when you're out there," Torres said of his battles with Phaneuf. "He's not going to let up, I'm not going to let up so sometimes you've got to run into each other."


Videos

Photos