Quinn worries about complacency

Edmonton Oilers' Jeff Deslauriers makes a save on Florida Panthers' Stephen Weiss. (REUTERS/Hans...

Edmonton Oilers' Jeff Deslauriers makes a save on Florida Panthers' Stephen Weiss. (REUTERS/Hans Deryk)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

TAMPA BAY -- You can't win 'em all, but for a team that looked for a while there like it might never win another, now is not the time for a letdown.

On a three-game winning streak and with the troubled Tampa Bay Lightning up next in Edmonton's cross hairs, head coach Pat Quinn is warning anyone who'll listen about the dangers of getting comfortable.

Not that the Oilers plan to, or have much right to, but it's only human nature to take a deep breath and admire a job well done. Even when it’s not entirely finished.

So, with a better than .500 road trip already in the bank, Quinn wants to guard against anyone thinking -- if the breaks start beating the boys Wednesday -- that it’s OK, six of eight possible points is still pretty good.

“One of the things we’ve said all along is that it’s not just Xs and Os we’re trying to put together here, it’s a mental state of mind about who we are and how we want to play, what we can expect out of each other,” said the ever-demanding coach, who wants to see them keep their feet on the gas instead of getting comfortable with modest success.

“We can't take anything for granted; we’re not a strong enough team to ever sit there for a minute and put our feet up on the desk and say we’re going to coast here for a little bit. We have to grind it every time. We'll have to do that until we become more and more proficient at becoming a good team.”

Nobody ever plans on complacency, it just kind of sneaks up on you. But the Oilers says they’re keeping a watchful eye out for it in the dressing room.

“I definitely don’t sense it,” said Shawn Horcoff, who has a goal and two shootout winners in the last two games. “For us right now, the travel has been tough and the games have been tough, so, if anything, we’re going to try to keep it simple, just keep doing what we’re doing with our tenacity on the puck and our work ethic.

“We won three in a row and we’re still four points out of the playoffs, so I don’t know how we can be (comfortable). But at the same time, if we continue this little roll we’re going to get ourselves right back in the picture.”

No chance they’ll take the Lightning lightly? After all, how many games have the Bolts won in a row?

None.

“If you look at the standings we can’t really lay off the gas because we’re still at the bottom,” said winger JF Jacques. “We want to get back up to where we were at the beginning of the year, so we can’t afford to take a night off.”

Not against a Lightning team that is equal parts mad and due. They’ve lost five of their last six and the big guns are slumping. Martin St, Louis was held pointless in all five of the losses and Steve Stamkos didn’t register a single shot on goal in Monday’s 3-0 home ice loss to Washington.

Head coach Rick Tocchett nailed his first two lines to the pine in the third period,

Think they’ll be any fired up?

“No question, we know we’ll have a little tiger going at the start of the game for sure,” said Quinn. “It’s a step for us, dealing with the mental toughness and our ability to withstand some onslaught that we expect at the start. Bend but don’t break and put ourselves in position to fight back and take the game over. That’s what we expect.”


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