Brule back in Oilers' lineup

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:59 PM ET

MINNESOTA — Gilbert Brule will draw back into the lineup as the Edmonton Oilers try to snap a 15-game, road-losing skid against the Minnesota Wild.

Brule has not played since suffering a concussion on March 13, in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I’m happy to be back,” said Brule. “I just have to go out and my game tonight, I have to bring energy, block shots, hit and take the puck hard to the net.

“I think my conditioning is pretty good, you can obviously never compare to game speed, so it might be an adjustment in the first period, but after that, I think I’ll fit right in.”

Brule will take Colin Fraser’s spot in the lineup against the Wild. Fraser will sit out nursing a foot injury.

“I wasn’t sure what I would find honestly this morning with Gilbert, but he said he felt great,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “He said it’s the best he’s felt since he’s been working on getting better.”

Brule was injured after hitting Penguins defenceman Kris Letang in the late stages of a 5-1 loss.

Going up against the Wild, Brule and the Oilers will be trying to snap a losing skid at the Xcel Energy Center that dates back to January, 2007.

“It is what it is, we have to accept that fact and take responsibility for it and go after a win tonight,” said Renney. “Personally I kind of like it. We have to have something to shoot for and it’s a pretty good motivator, we don’t want to lose another one, so lets go make it a W.”

Nikolai Khabibulin will get his second consecutive start in goal for the Oilers.

Khabibulin turned away 31 shots in a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.

“We’re just trying to keep him going,” Renney said. “As we’re winding down here, we want to make sure that both goaltenders feel really good about how they finish their season.

“The bottom line is making sure they’re in a good space mentally and when they depart at the end of the season, they can feel good about what they’re coming back to.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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