Here’s a provocative statement: the Edmonton Oilers can still make the playoffs.
Much has been made about this proverbial dumpster fire of a season for the Oilers, with He Who Must Not Be Named still casting a long shadow and consistency an issue. There really shouldn’t be any reason for hope, kind of like there shouldn’t be any reason for hope of civility on the Internet.
But, much like a kind word on social media, surprises do happen.
And the Oilers at least seem game to surprise, with Thursday’s 3-2 victory against the Vancouver Canucks keeping the blood pumping for now.
You could look at Thursday’s game a little closer and see that Edmonton almost blew a 3-0 lead to the Canucks, but they survived and that’s what matters in this instance. The Oilers edged out a win and they are, right now, within striking distance of the Minnesota Wild’s 74 points. That would put Edmonton in the last wild card spot, a position that isn’t impossible to reach.
The Oilers have won their last four. Let that sink in.
They beat the Canucks, Sabres, Blue Jackets, and Senators and managed to sneak up a few spots in the standings in the process. Now they sit two points ahead of the Blackhawks and Canucks and three behind Colorado. They’re four points behind the Arizona Coyotes and did not need Minnesota to somehow defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night.
But that’s life.
Edmonton’s next game will be against Toronto, a Saturday affair that will definitely test the home squad. They were blown out by the Maple Leafs last time and could be in for a measure of the same treatment.
Or they could ride the wave and pull off a win.
Right now, that’s possible.
It’s possible in part because key pieces are coming together. Zack Kassian has somehow morphed into a top-six winger, for instance, and he has goals in four straight games alongside Connor McDavid up top. Goalie Mikko Koskinen has posted a .926 save percentage in the 10 straight games since Cam Talbot was shipped out of town. Sam Gagner is back. And so forth.
Yes, the Edmonton Oilers can still make the playoffs. Given how rough things have been this season, that’s a small miracle. But given their play as of late, maybe that’s not such a provocative thought after all.
(Photo credit: NHL)