This kid can score

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Ryan Potulny's two goals against San Jose on Friday gave the Edmonton Oilers some hope.

Hope that despite losing their most gifted offensive player for the season in Ales Hemsky, they could still make a run at a playoff spot.

Potulny's first goal was one of the best individual efforts of the season in the shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks, stealing the puck from Sharks defenceman Dan Boyle at his own blue line, fending off the much bigger Joe Thornton, then displaying soft hands by tucking a shot underneath goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.

"I think I've always thought that I could make those kinds of plays up here," Potulny said prior to last night's game against the Vancouver Canucks.

"I've always thought I could play here. I think there are a lot of guys that can play here that are in the minors right now, who just need a chance. I was fortunate an opportunity came for me here, but I still have to prove every night that I belong here."

With Hemsky lost for the season due to a shoulder injury, the Oilers need to increase their offensive production from within.

Potulny is one of the players they'll look to.

Last season, Potulny scored more goals than any other player in the organization, netting 38 in 70 games with the Springfield Falcons.

His pair against the Sharks gave him five in 10 games with the Oilers. Only Dustin Penner, Hemsky and Gilbert Brule have scored more.

"He's got really good hockey sense," said Oilers associate coach Tom Renney.

"He comes from a good background. He plays the game with an intelligence that is sort of innate; it's not something you develop, it's something you have.

"He has the drive, to be an NHLer, which is something that's really important to have and it's really important to see."


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