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Tambellini's words have had big effect on Oilers

by Robin Brownlee /
EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini told his players to forget about big-picture issues such as lottery picks and the like 10 days ago and concentrate on winning hockey games.

The Oilers appear to have taken that to heart as they prepare to face the St. Louis Blues at Rexall Place on Friday. Edmonton has won 4 of its last 5 games following Wednesday's 5-1 win in Colorado.

"People really don't know how painful it is to lose games," said Andrew Cogliano, who likely will play between Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle against the Blues. "Especially when you're losing one after another. It takes a big toll.

"Even with where we are right now, or whatever draft pick you might get, it's all about winning. When you put your equipment on and go out there to play, you have to have pride in what you're doing. You have to have pride in playing and playing for this organization. If you don't, you're going to lose. We have to start winning games, not only for ourselves but for the people watching us."

Khabibulin out -- Devan Dubnyk will start against the Blues and the Oilers have recalled Martin Gerber from AHL Oklahoma City because Nikolai Khabibulin is out with an eye injury.

Khabibulin apparently was hit in the eye by an ice chip during practice last Monday. While Khabibulin started in a 4-1 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday, doctors have since found bleeding in the eye and have told him to sit.

Around the rink -- The Blues arrive on a three-game losing streak after a 3-2 loss in Vancouver Thursday. ... Hall and Dustin Penner scored goals in the win against Colorado and are tied for the team lead with 21 goals. ... Hall is third in rookie scoring with 40 points in 61 games. ... This is the third of four meetings between the Oilers and Blues. The season series is tied 1-1 after a 2-1 Edmonton win Dec. 4 and a 5-3 St. Louis win Feb. 4. ... The Oilers have won 3 straight games at Rexall Place but are just 10-17-4 at home. ... The Blues scored a power-play goal in the loss to Vancouver, marking the seventh straight game they've scored with the man advantage. ... The Blues are 9-14-5 on the road. ... The Oilers have activated Gilbert Brule from injured reserve and he will be a game-time decision.
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