SUN Hockey Pool

Hemsky a game-time decision

Ales Hemsky is pencilled in on a line with Ryan Smyth and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Tuesday night against...

Ales Hemsky is pencilled in on a line with Ryan Smyth and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Tuesday night against Phoenix at Rexall Place. (Codie McLachlan, Edmonton Sun).

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:18 PM ET

ST. PAUL, MINN. - Ales Hemsky will be a game-time decision as the Edmonton Oilers take on the Minnesota Wild Thursday.

The Oilers winger has missed the last two games with a sinus infection, but is back practising with the club and was on the ice for the morning skate.

“He felt good. He’ll have a nap this afternoon and we’ll see how he feels when he comes back to the rink,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “He skated the last three days and again this morning and really feels it’s settling down. Whether or not it’s to the point where he can play tonight, we’ll find out this afternoon.”

Hemsky has struggled this season with three goals and eight assists in 22 games.

He was hampered recovering from shoulder surgery early in the year, but said prior to the team’s departure on a six-game road trip that both of his shoulders are fine.

If he’s unable to play against the Wild, he’ll most likely be in the lineup Saturday when the Oilers travel to face the New York Islanders.

“I’ll talk to him when he gets back to the rink today,” said Renney. “If I feel like he needs another skate, then I’ll make that decision then.”

The Oilers head into the contest having lost five of their last six games. The Wild have lost eight straight.

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The records:

  Played Wins Losses OT losses Points Western position
Oilers 35 15 17 3 33 13th
Wild 38 20 12 6 46 6th

This will be the final meeting of the season between the two teams. Nikolai Khabibulin will get the start in goal for the Oilers, going up against Niklas Backstrom.

“We need to get off to a good start,” said Renney. “I think they’re going to want to come in here and show us right off the bat that they’re here to play and we respect that. We’re going to try to go after them and our special teams will have to be good.

“We have to understand that it takes two-and-a-half hours of work to win a hockey game and you can lose a game in the first 10 minutes but you’re not likely going to win it (in the first 10 minutes).”

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