Even if the Edmonton Oilers manage to win in Denver tonight, it’s looking like the race for 30th place and the best odds at second straight No.1 draft pick will be a runaway by the time they get back from a five-game road trip.
With Dustin Penner in Los Angeles, Ales Hemsky on the shelf for several weeks and Taylor Hall gone for the season, the Oilers best and likely only chance to win a single game on this trip will come against the struggling Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Centre. I’m not even sold on their chances there.
While it’s hardly a stop-the-presses revelation, the Oilers, 10-16-4 on the road, should be home and cooled as locks for 30th place by the time they get back from stops in Denver, Philadelphia, Washington, Detroit and Pittsburgh.
For a depleted Oilers outfit that might have trouble sweeping a five-game swing against the top five teams in the AHL right now, this trip stacks up as a proverbial Murderer’s Row. The 20th-place Ottawa Senators should be a speck in the rear-view mirror by the time they get home.
The over-under is one win. Tonight.
The Avalanche, 26-30-8 overall and 14-15-4 at home, represent the only non-playoff team on the stop and are on a 1-7-2 skid in their last 10 games after coming right off the rails in February. There’s a nice little bar in downtown Denver named Rock Bottom, and if the Oilers lose tonight, they will have found it.
The second stop comes in Philadelphia, where the Flyers will most certainly kick the Oilers teeth down their throats. The Flyers sit atop the Eastern Conference and are 20-9-3 at home.
Next up, the Capitals, who are 19-8-7 at home. Despite being so-so to the point where Bruce Boudreau better win something with this team this season or find a new job, what’s left of the Oilers won’t push them.
Then, it’s on to Detroit, where the Red Wings have a rather modest 17-10-4 record at grimy Joe Louis Arena, but still sit second in the Western Conference. They’ll beat the Oilers for fun.
The trip wraps up in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins are 20-11-2. Even with Sidney Crosby still goofy, Evgeni Malkin out and the Penguini’s a miserable 2-4-4 in their last 10 overall, I can’t see the Oilers taking two points out of the dome on the hill.
This is Captain Obvious wishing you all a good weekend.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.