SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers learning anything?

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

Tonight the Edmonton Oilers will see if practice does make perfect.

After three days of drills the Oilers will be back in action playing host to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"We've been able to re-charge ourselves, and hopefully get our game back from an execution perspective back to a very high level," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "I know the guys have really been attentive for the three days of practice that we've had, and I think we're in pretty good shape."

The Oilers went into their three-day break following a 4-3 win over the L.A. Kings.

That victory came on the heels of a 5-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks the night before.

Heading into tonight's game against the Blue Jackets, the Oilers are still outside the playoffs looking in. They're in desperate need of a winning streak to stay in the post-season hunt.

"I think the time off was a good thing," said Oilers centre Jarret Stoll.

"It was much needed to get practices in, get on the ice and work on things we need to work on.

"We haven't played that well over the course of some of the games and there were some things that we needed to work on."

From here, the Oilers play essentially every other night.

They don't have more than two days between games in February and have only one more three-day break between now and the end of the season.

"There has been some system play that has broken down and cost us goals against," Stoll said.

"We just went out and worked on those things and just tweaked our game a little bit, and hopefully that will show in the game."

After tonight's game the Oil go on to play nine of their next 12 games on the road.

They have a seven-game, two-week road trip in the middle of February which could make or break their season.

"I think it was important to just get out there and be able to work on some things," Stoll said.

"Before the (all-star) break we didn't get much time to do that."

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WHO TO WATCH

Ryan Smyth, Oilers

Scored a pair in the win over Los Angeles and leads the team with 25 on the season.

Ty Conklin, Blue Jackets

Former Oilers goaltender could be between the pipes to face his old team tonight.

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GAMENOTES

The Jackets are among the worst road teams in the league. Heading into last night's game against the Vancouver Canucks, they had an 8-15-2 record. Only L.A. and Chicago had fewer wins on the road ... The Oilers penalty-killing unit is still one of the best. They head into tonight's game with an 87.2% efficiency rate, second best in the league ... David Vyborny leads the Blue Jackets in scoring. Heading into last night's game Vyborny had 10 goals and 33 assists in 50 games ... Petr Sykora has not scored a goal in his last six games and has only two goals in his last 16 games, but is still second among the Oilers this season with 17 goals.

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HURT PARADE

OILERS -- LW Ethan Moreau (shoulder), D Daniel Tjarnqvist (groin).

BLUE JACKETS -- G Pascal Leclaire (knee), D Bryan Berard (back), G Fredrik Norrena (groin), Duvie Westcott (concussion).

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THEY SAID

"I'm sure he's highly motivated to come in here and play well.''

- Craig MacTavish on Ty Conklin


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