How to be road warriors

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

BOSTON -- They accomplished what they set out to do at home -- win -- now it's time to take their show on the road. After shoring up a major area of weakness last season, the Oilers did a much better job of protecting Rexall Place, going 6-2-1 in their first nine home games.

"I think we've done a pretty good job," said Andrew Cogliano. "Our home record is pretty good."

It gets a little tougher now as the Oilers play seven of their next eight, and 13 of their next 19, on the road, where they are 1-3 this year.

"It's going to be fun," said Patrick O'Sullivan. "I think our team is looking forward to it. This is going to be a good test for our team."

Learning how to play a good road game might be the best thing for them right now, given the areas of deficiency in their own end.

"It's a different style on the road, keeping it simple," said O'Sullivan. "When you go on the road it's almost an us-against-them type of mentality you have to have. You don't have the last change and the fans are cheering against you, it's going to be good."

And, thanks to a timely shootout goal that helped them sidestep complete disaster, they don't have to spend their entire travel day brooding over the 5-1 lead they let slip away against the Wings.

"It's a lot better mentally, especially on that long flight to Boston," said Horcoff. "Better to win a game than have lost four in a row."

Sick-bay flies with team

Fernando Pisani and Steve Staios, who've missed 13 and 10 games, respectively, with back and concussion problems flew out with the team. As did Mike Comrie and Lubomir Visnovsky, who are both battling the flu (Visnovsky's defence partner Ladislav Smid had H1N1). But head coach Pat Quinn isn't certain if any of them will play in Boston or Long Island.

"I would say it's possible," said Quinn. "Steve did pass the most recent test, but he's been out three weeks so he needs some practice time. And Fernando's been out longer than that. They need some scrimmage time; I'd be afraid to just throw them to the wolves without an actual scrimmage-type practice or two."

And the flu boys?

"If we had to play (last) night I don't think either one would be fine with it," said Quinn. "We'll assess them again in the morning."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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