A day off paid off for Sam Gagner last night.
After sitting out Monday's encounter in Columbus, the Edmonton Oilers centre was back in the lineup, scoring a goal and adding an assist in a 6-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
The goal was the first in 12 games for Gagner, who had collected just three assists during that time.
"I felt great to start the year and you get into a mini-slump things sometimes start to go worse from there," Gagner said prior to the game. "My focus is to try and not get into the trap I fell into last year where I was trying to do too much and I ended up costing our team in a negative way. I have to focus on continuing to play my game, try to push the envelope and getting things turned around."
Gagner had suffered a hip injury in Atlanta which forced him out of the contest in Columbus.
"It was just one of those things, I got hit along the boards awkwardly and my hip popped out," Gagner said. "But it feels a lot better and I'm ready to go."
Gagner, 20, was the latest Oilers to get bit by the injury bug. The team also lost Taylor Chorney, Denis Grebeshkov, Robert Nilsson and Fernando Pisani on their five-game road trip. Last night they were also minus Mike Comrie, who came down sick and Ethan Moreau left the contest after getting his bell rung on a hit from Ryan Wilson.
"We've had a lot of those freak accidents," Gagner said. "The good news was that I was only day-to-day and now I'm back, so it's exciting for me to get back in the lineup."
Gagner has yet to undergo an MRI on his hip and will for the time being play it by feel. He seemed to be skating just fine last night.
"The doctors said at this point, they don't see anything that's structurally damaged," Gagner said. "We're going to hold off on that."