The Ottawa Senators have struggled to find their form since the end of the Olympic break. They hope a trip to Western Canada and an eventual stop in the Olympic host city will provide a spark.
The Senators begin a three-game road swing against Northwest Division opponents Tuesday at Edmonton, where the Oilers are looking to extend a modest two-game winning streak.
Ottawa (36-25-5) led the Northeast heading into the hiatus for the Olympics in Vancouver - where it plays Saturday - but has gone 0-2-1 since play resumed to drop two points behind Buffalo.
The Senators, who play 11 of their final 16 on the road, were able to grind out a point Saturday in a 2-1 shootout loss to Toronto as both captain Daniel Alfredsson and center Peter Regin did not play due to a flu bug that spread throughout the locker room during the past week.
"It was a tough game,'' said Chris Neil, who scored Ottawa's lone goal. "I didn't know if I was going to be able to play tonight but the guys battled through it and we were able to get a point out of it but it would have been nice to get two.''
Both Alfredsson - the team leader with 34 assists and 51 points - and Regin are expected to play this game, and with the team relatively healthy ahead of this trip, coach Cory Clouston wants his team to focus on the task at hand.
"We've talked to the guys and told them we can't take (Edmonton) lightly," Clouston told the Senators' official Web site. "They understand the importance of just getting that first game under our belt, playing a real good solid game and knowing Edmonton is a tough opponent."
While that might have been a tough sell since Edmonton (21-38-6) has an NHL-low 48 points, the Oilers have won consecutive games due to the solid goaltending of Jeff Deslauriers. He made 28 saves before stopping 4 of 6 shootout attempts in a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday and followed that effort with a 22-save shutout in Monday's 2-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
"He's been really sharp in both games," Oilers coach Pat Quinn said about Deslauriers. "We were pretty good in front of him, too, but he made some big stops when he had to. He looked sharp.
"He wasn't sitting back like he does when he doubts himself every once in a while. He's not guessing right now. He is playing like he knows what is happening out there."
The Oilers, who have won just six of 33 (6-25-2) have not won three straight since a season-high five-game winning streak from Dec. 3-11.
Center Gilbert Brule, enjoying a career season with 14 goals and 16 assists, has five points in his last five games. He also scored the tying goal in Edmonton's 4-3 shootout loss at Ottawa on Nov. 10.
Ottawa has won five in a row between the teams - two by shootout - since a 3-1 road loss March 14, 2004.