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Oilers look to improve against division rivals

Edmonton Oilers Taylor Hall launches over Vancouver Canucks Keith Ballard during second period NHL...

Edmonton Oilers Taylor Hall launches over Vancouver Canucks Keith Ballard during second period NHL action at Rexall Place in Edmonton on Oct. 15, 2011. (AMBER BRACKEN/QMI Agency)

Robert Tychkowski, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:49 PM ET

EDMONTON - The same, only different.

That’s the Edmonton Oilers' game plan heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

With a 3-1-1 record at home, they want to stay the course at Rexall Place, but their winless (0-2-2) record against Northwest Division opponents needs to change in a hurry.

“The recipe for success for playoff teams is to take care of business at home and go .500 on the road,” said winger Ryan Jones. “If you do that you’re going to find yourself in the playoffs. We have to make this a hard place to play, make it hard for teams to come in here and take any sort of points.”

They’ve done a decent job of it so far, coming 1.2 seconds away from a 4-1 record here. The only team to beat them in regulation is these same Canucks, 4-3 in their last visit to Edmonton.

“This is our home building and we want to be a team that when people come into our barn they’re worried about playing us here,” said winger Jordan Eberle. “For the most part we’ve kind of stated that so far - we’re seen as a fast-moving team, a fast transition team.”

But they’ve struggled against their own division, losing to Vancouver and Calgary in regulation and twice to Minnesota in the shootout.

Head coach Tom Renney isn’t worried about the divisional struggles ... yet.

“Not yet, until it costs us a playoff spot, for example,” he said half jokingly. “You never know which two points it’s going to be, and those are four pointers. We’re still so intent on developing our own reputation, our own game, it’ll be at the expense of points here and there, we know that. The big thing is we have to get points where maybe others least expect it. We have to make sure we man up and tackle those opportunities head on."

“It’s early still, we have lots of hockey left, but I think we’ve played our division as well this year, having not won, (as) other years when we did. I think we’re playing pretty good.”

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@Sunmedia.ca

TWITTER.com/SUN_TYCHKOWSKI

 


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