SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers face familiar problem

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 2:15 PM ET

The extended homestand was supposed to represent a chance for the Edmonton Oilers to make up some ground.

But heading into the last of five consecutive games at Rexall Place today, the best the Oilers can do is finish a game over .500 before going out on the road.

Tonight they host the St. Louis Blues (6 p.m.) at Rexall Place.

"We just have to keep it together," said head coach Craig MacTavish.

"We've been down this path for many years, where we know if we keep ourselves in the hunt, it's going to come down to what you do in March.

"We know that this year will be no different. We just want to peck along here while we're missing Ales (Hemsky), which highlights his importance to our team."

Hemsky did not practice with the Oilers yesterday and is not expected to play tonight, having been placed on injured reserve prior to Friday's contest against the San Jose Sharks.

Hemsky's status is retroactive to Dec. 28, when Jordin Tootoo of the Nashville Predators planted him into the boards.

"All we can do is try to keep ourselves in it, keep ourselves healthy and try to dodge any further injuries as best we can," MacTavish said.

"We have to try to play better.

"We didn't play great the last couple of games -- that's obvious -- and that's not attributable to guys being injured, we just need better performances in here from a bunch of guys."

The Blues are coming in having won their last two games, including a 6-4 victory in Vancouver on Friday night.


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