SUN Hockey Pool

Homestand offers hope, opportunity

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

The opportunity to separate themselves from the pack has presented itself to the Edmonton Oilers in the form of a seven-game homestand.

Yesterday the Oilers began the homestand against the St. Louis Blues - and it doesn't come to an end until the first week of December.

"We're hopeful that after Game 5 we're not looking for a road trip," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"It seems like a long time to be at home. I normally don't like to be at home that much, but we've played pretty well here at home and we're going to need that to continue."

The Oilers now have a 7-2 record at Rexall Place after starting the year with six straight. Then dropped two straight before their recently-concluded five-game road trip.

"It's obviously an important stretch," said Oilers captain Jason Smith. "You don't go through too many stretches throughout the season where you play this many games at home. It's a great opportunity to build some momentum and move up in the standings. These are big games for us."

Apart from the Blues, the Oilers will host the Red Wings, Flames, Blackhawks, Ducks, Avalanche and Blue Jackets on this homestand (with the much-anticipated return of Chris Pronger on Nov. 28).

"It's a really good opportunity for us," said Oilers forward Brad Winchester, who scored three goals on the trip.

"Certainly battling hard on that road trip with the amount of games we had in so few days, it's going to be good for us to come back home and really capitalize on the opportunity we have playing in front of our fans."

"It's obvious that we need wins and we need points and there's no better time than to do it here at home," Smith said. "It's a great atmosphere to play in and we need to start making some headway. With a stretch at home here, you can do that."


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