SUN Hockey Pool

Number crunch

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

Craig MacTavish has a numbers problem, and it's obvious Rob Schremp and Toby Petersen have no intention of helping the Edmonton Oilers coach do the math.

With MacTavish having already declared that his first three lines are pretty much set and he has only a couple of roster spots open up front, Schremp and Petersen did little to ease MacT's number crunch in last night's 3-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes at Rexall Place.

Contending for one of those two open roster spots with six or more other candidates, Schremp made his case with a power-play goal to open the scoring.

Petersen, a utility forward MacTavish has an eye for, added one of his own in the second period as both hopefuls recorded their second points of pre-season as the Oilers won their third game in three nights.

Over to you, coach.

"Everyone's looking good right now," said MacTavish, who is quick to point out it's still early.

"You need the power play and he (Schremp) is a guy who can score on the power play. He looked pretty responsible defensively in his own zone ... Toby played great. He was strong on the puck."

Schremp, 20, the OHL scoring champion last season with 57 goals and 145 points with the London Knights, made it 1-0 on a 5-on-3 power play 8:04 into proceedings when he blew a one-timer past former Oiler Mike Morrison from the high slot on a pass from Petr Sykora.

Schremp, who started strong at camp last season before fading and being returned to the Knights in the final cuts to embark on his scoring binge, had a power-play assist on a goal by fellow rookie Tom Gilbert in Monday's 2-1 win over Florida.

"It's definitely going to be a tough lineup to crack," Schremp said. "All I can do is go out and play.

"One of the things I regret when I look back at last year's camp is I thought I played pretty well but I just didn't produce points the way I'd like to. I think that was a big factor. This year I'm making sure I buckle down."

With MacTavish using five forwards on the power play, Raffi Torres made it 2-0 when he re-directed a Sykora shot past Morrison.

Then came Petersen, the 27-year-old journeyman who's spent most of the past four seasons in the minor leagues. When Petersen took a pass from Patrick Thoresen and re-directed a shot past Morrison for his second point in two outings, the Oilers were on their way.

"Let's be honest here. The only thing I can do is show what I can do," said Petersen. "Hopefully, it's going to be enough to make this team.

"All you can ask is to be given an opportunity and this year I've been given a great opportunity. I've been put out in pretty much every situation. You can't ask for much more."

Petersen, Schremp, Thoresen, a newcomer who has two assists in his two games, Alexei Mikhnov, who scored a goal and had two assists in a 5-0 win over Phoenix in Winnipeg Sunday, Brad Winchester, J.F. Jacques, Kyle Brodziak, Zach Stortini and Marc-Antoine Pouliot are all in the running.

"You're only (going to) get one or two chances," Schremp said. "Being a young guy, I've got to make sure I make the most of them."

AROUND THE RINK ... After going 2-for-6 on the power play against the Coyotes in Winnipeg, the Oilers were 2-for-7 with the man advantage last night and are 6-for-23 through games ... linemates Ales Hemsky and Sykora both picked up two assists in their pre-season debuts.


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