Oilers-Lightning Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 21, 2012
Despite some strong performances lately, the Edmonton Oilers are left to work toward next season and spoil other teams' playoff hopes. The visiting Oilers look for their fourth win in five games Thursday night while trying to deal another blow to the Tampa Bay Lightning's faint postseason chances. Edmonton (29-36-8) is all but eliminated from this season's playoff race but is refusing to go quietly with a 3-0-1 mark in its past four contests. "It's nice to see the results for those guys working hard and staying with it," said coach Tom Renney, whose team is also 5-1-1 in its last seven road games. "It's not been an easy season for us, but it is a season that we continue to grow through and be better for in the long run." Following a shootout loss to Phoenix, the Oilers routed a Nashville team that's likely postseason-bound 6-3 on Tuesday behind Ales Hemsky's first career hat trick. Hemsky, who was playing in his 550th NHL contest, also recorded an assist during the opener of a four-game trip. "I hope he has many more (hat tricks). He is more of a passer, there are no two ways about that. He is as unselfish a guy as we have," coach Tom Renney said. "He was on his toes. He was really skating. He was proactive with and without the puck. Good things usually follow players like that around." Hemsky has just nine goals this season but has scored four times over the last two games. He'll try to add to that binge against the Lightning (32-33-7), losers of three in a row. After suffering consecutive 3-1 defeats, Tampa Bay was routed 7-3 by Buffalo on Monday. Rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski was pulled in the second period after giving up four goals on 15 shots, and was sent back to the minors Tuesday. League goal-scoring leader Steven Stamkos, meanwhile, was held without a point for the third straight game. A 1-5-1 record over the last seven has helped drop the Lightning into a tie for 13th place in the Eastern Conference, nine points out of playoff position with 10 games remaining. In coach Guy Boucher's first season, Tampa Bay finished one win shy of reaching the Stanley Cup finals after qualifying for the postseason for the first time in four years. Injuries, though, have hurt the Lightning's chances of duplicating that success. Tampa Bay, 1-5-0 in its last six at home, was playing without eight regulars during Monday's loss, including top goaltender Mathieu Garon and all-time scoring leader Vincent Lecavalier. "We want to get back to where we were, but it's a different team. It's different players. It's different circumstances," Boucher said. "We want to groom the guys here. It's grooming players right now. Let's not kid ourselves." Boucher will try to continue that work while helping his team end a three-game skid to the Oilers. Edmonton hasn't faced the Lightning since a 4-3 shootout win at home Dec. 10, 2010. Its previous visit to Tampa was a 3-2 victory on Dec. 9, 2009.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving ate the Celtics’ heart during the second half of Game 4

NFL to reportedly bring back fun touchdown celebrations

Mike Trout explains why he doesn’t look at advanced stats

Reds’ Joey Votto shuts down heckler with “I remember when you used to be thin”

Rob Gronkowski gets new contract, chance to double salary

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Padres offering $99 ticket plan for five June wins or 16 June games – whatever happens first

Former Jets WR Devin Smith found out he was cut via Twitter

Roger Goodell tweets ‘Key & Peele’ joke about relaxed celebration rules

Martavis Bryant: ‘I know this is my last chance’

Glennon: ‘This is my year and I’m not worried about the future’

Durant apologizes for response to fans complaining about blowouts

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker