Shawn's middle ground

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

It can hardly be considered a scoring streak.

But the fact Shawn Horcoff has a goal in each of the Edmonton Oilers last two games is good sign.

Especially considering the team is again entrenched in another fight for a playoff spot as the Chicago Blackhawks come calling tonight (7 p.m.) at Rexall Place.

"He's got more confidence with the puck and I know as a player how valuable that confidence level is," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "If you're going to play up to your expectations you're going to have to play with confidence. And he's starting to find that confidence."

Up to this point, Horcoff has not lived up to expectations with 11 goals and 24 assists in 54 games heading into tonight's contest.

Last year he had 22 goals and 51 assists in 79 games. He also added seven goals and 12 assists in 24 playoff games on the road to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

"The first 20 games I obviously wasn't playing well," Horcoff said. "Then I went through 10 games where I couldn't buy any chances or get any luck. I hit a few posts and nothing was going in.

"Hopefully that's all behind me. It's an important stretch right now and we can use all the goals we can get."

Unless Horcoff goes on a run, he won't match last season's totals. However, the focus now is contributing and helping the Oilers make the playoffs.

With a pair of goals and an assist in his last two games, Horcoff is on the road to redemption.

"Our line has been moving the puck pretty well," he said. "We've been getting lots of chances and it's nice to see the pucks going in."

Since being reunited with Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky on the Oilers top line, the chances have been coming. Horcoff has five goals and seven assists in his last 11 games

"Since we've been together, we've been able to create quite a bit of offence every game," he said. "We obviously feel comfortable with each other, we enjoy playing with each other and hopefully we can continue our success."

Playing and producing on the top line has Horcoff's confidence up. Things are starting to go his way and he's starting to get the bounces that weren't there earlier in the season.

"Confidence is fickle," he said. "It comes and goes. Obviously when you have it, you want to put as many pucks to the net as possible.

"I'm trying to get more pucks to the net, that's the only thing I've really changed. You can't score goals if you don't get the puck to the net."


Videos

Photos