Road, sweet road

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- Well, so much for the homestand.

Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted, Oilers fans, because you're barely going to see them again till early December. They're hoping to still be in the playoff mix by then, but with the first quarter of their season almost entirely on the road, you never know.

"I've never seen a stretch like that, only home for three of our first 15 games and eight of our first 26," said centre Shawn Horcoff, as the Oilers packed up for tonight's game in Anaheim. "But I don't necessarily think it's horrible. It's a lot easier winning games on the road earlier in the season than it is at the end. I'd rather be starting the season like this than finishing it."

The Oilers open with a two-gamer in Anaheim and Calgary, come home for one, go back on the road for three more, come home for one and then go back on the road for a seven-game, 13-day voyage that begins in Nashville and ends in New York City. They come back from that, play two at home and then play six of their next nine on the road.

"You have to look at situations like that and try to make the most of them," shrugged Horcoff. "Hopefully we catch some teams who aren't on the top of their game."

The Oilers will have to be on the top of theirs because a schedule like that can destroy a team that isn't.

"This is a big test and it'll probably dictate how the rest of the season goes," said Dustin Penner. "It's a month on the road. The easiest way is to just take it a game at a time and not worry about where we're going next, what city, just try and stay in the moment."

If there's a bright side, it's that expectations are lowered slightly when a club is away from home. Going .500 in 13 home games is a disaster, going .500 over 13 road games is acceptable. Going two or three games over is brilliant.

"Two or three over would be great," said Horcoff.


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