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NHL - US Sports: Oilers told to focus on small details

Head coach Jay Woodcroft has told his Edmonton Oilers to forget about the longer-term goal of the qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs and focus on the crucial daily details.

The Oilers, 33/1 to win the Stanley Cup, promoted Woodcroft from Bakersfield in the AHL following the sacking of Dave Tippett on 10th February.

Upturn under Woodcroft stalled

Initially, results improved under the 45-year-old as the Oilers won his first five games in charge. However, more recently, Edmonton have lost three in a row and six of their past eight games slipping to fourth in the Pacific Division (30-23-4).

Despite their recent wobble, the Oilers remain in play-off contention and are just three points off the nearest Wild Card spot.

Woodcroft, however, says he players need to stop watching the standings in an attempt to relieve pressure and focus on the shorter term.

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Positively for the Oilers, their two superstar forwards continue to produce with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl co-leading the NHL for points (79). 25-year-old McDavid with 29 goal, 50 assists and 26-year-old Draisatil scoring 38 goals, 41 assists.

At the opposite end, Woodcroft has enjoyed improved performances from netminder Mikko Koskinen who is 7-1-2 in his past 10 starts.

Woodcroft looking for focus

Woodcroft, who is 7-4-1 overall since taking charge commented to the media: "We're not being consumed with what other teams are doing. We're not going to worry about long-term scheduling, we're just taking care of one day at a time.

"When you focus your attention and you direct your energies toward one goal at a time, I think it serves the team well. So far, that's been something we've talked a lot about and that's what we're trying to do."

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