SUN Hockey Pool

Pisani looks for scoring touch

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

A few months ago, Fernando Pisani's biggest concern had nothing to do with hockey.

Battling ulcerative colitis, the Edmonton Oilers winger had to deal with health issues which at one time looked to threaten his career.

Now back in the lineup, Pisani is trying to regain the form that made him one of the team's most productive forwards during the run to the Stanley Cup final in 2006.

However, he's only scored one goal in his last 18 games.

"Obviously you want to score goals and contribute offensively," Pisani said. "But I think when you're not getting those opportunities that's when you evaluate it a bit more. I feel as of late I'm getting good chances around the net. Maybe if I can get a few bounces going in for me then it can turn things around a little bit."

Since his return to the lineup in December, Pisani has four goals and four assists in 31 games.

Last season he finished the year with 14 goals and 14 assists in 77 games. In the '06 playoff run, the local product potted 14 goals in 24 games.

Having missed the first part of this season battling his illness, there was some thought Pisani might be getting tired. Head coach Craig MacTavish even talked about giving him some practice time off.

"I've been doing well lately," Pisani said. "Sometimes you feel tired but that's to be expected, but for the most part, I feel pretty good. Mac has done a good job of giving the whole team time off. I'm sure once the schedule gets more hectic I'll be taking a few more days off."

If the Oilers are to make a run at a playoff spot, they'll need the versatile forward to not only continue playing gritty hockey, but start burying some of his chances.

Against the Calgary Flames on Saturday the Oilers brought the grit, but struggled to score.

Heading into tonight's game against Minnesota, the Oilers are looking to continue their physical play. Traditionally they've had difficulty generating offence against the top team in the Northwest Division.

"We've been a little bit more conscious of finishing our checks lately," Pisani said.

"When everybody's doing that, it wears the other team's defencemen down. That's how we create scoring chances."


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