Horcoff keeps the heat on

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

ST. LOUIS -- Shawn Horcoff has been going at a point-a-game clip this season and isn't showing any signs of slowing down.

He took a seven-game point scoring streak into the game in St. Louis, scoring five goals and adding six assists in that span, before scoring the opening goal and adding an assist for the Oilers last night. All this, in addition to killing penalties and posting the best plus-minus on the team.

"The difference between him now and the way he's played before is the confidence he has shooting the puck," said head coach Craig MacTavish, who didn't expect Horcoff would have a shot at 90 points this season.

"The amount of goals is something we didn't anticipate. He's a real confident shooter. He's going to shoot the puck every chance he gets, before he was always looking to pass first.

"That's the main reason he has the numbers that he has from a goal scoring perspective."

St. Louis coach Andy Murray, who coached Horcoff at the 2003 World Championships, said the tournament was a big stepping stone in his evolution.

"He emerged that year," said Murray. "When he went to the World Championships in 2003 he started on our fourth line and ended up being the second line centre on a good team.

"We won a world championship that year and when he came back the next season is when he had a really good year."

Murray's seen it before.

"Rick Nash this year, how he got out of the chute," he said, adding it does a player good to end the season on a winning note. "For one, they end the year feeling good about themselves, as opposed to just being guys who didn't make the playoffs.

"The Oilers always had the best philosophy with their players going to the Worlds. Kevin and Craig want them playing (in May). That's when you're supposed to be playing.

"Unfortunately for them, for quite a few years we were calling on their players."


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