Three points out

The Edmonton Oilers played what might have been there most important game in three seasons on Wednesday night. A hot run, and some help in other cities had put them in a position to tie for the final playoff spot in the West. Their shootout loss to San Jose means that they’re now three points out of both that post-season berth and dead last in the West.

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An eye on the post-season

According to, six teams in the West have an 80 percent or better chance of making the playoffs. The exceptions are Detroit and San Jose – the Red Wings took a hit with their loss to Minnesota, but remain ahead of the Sharks (who were significantly boosted by their win over Edmonton). Both the Sharks and Red Wings are rated as over 50 percent likely to hang on to their spots, with the other six teams on the chart above all somewhere between 10 and 30 percent likely to make it to the post-season.

Edmonton closes out the month with very little chance to damage the hopes of those other teams. They play Nashville on March 25, and Columbus on March 28 – with three other games against St. Louis (twice) and Vancouver. A good run here, and despite tonight’s loss they’ll be in decent shape. Needless to say, they need a good run.

Some good news: Detroit and San Jose don’t have an easy schedule to conclude March – between them they will play a combined five of their final 10 games in the month against Chicago and Anaheim.

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An eye on draft position

I completely understand that (virtually) nobody wants to watch the draft rankings. The organization is at a point where wins, not losses, are what will advance the rebuild. This remains the silver lining to a potential ugly losing streak, though. Colorado’s regulation win over Dallas on Wednesday worked out well for the Oilers, come what may. It kept the Stars tied with Edmonton, hurting playoff hopes in Texas, and moved Colorado up two points, hurting their draft position (and while nobody’s really out of the race in the West, Colorado is as close as it gets).

It’s March. A streak of wins, and the Oilers are buying at the deadline. A streak of losses, and the Oilers are buying at the draft. The Oilers’ on-ice results haven’t been this interesting this late in the season since the spring of 2009.

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  • Citizen David

    I think Dubnyk is a goalie we can win with. I think Sam Gagner needs to be a pillar we build our team on. I think Hemsky is still an above average second line winger but we should trade him because skilled scoring wingers is a team strength. We have holes that trading Hemsky can help fill.

  • Citizen David

    The thing that has been bothering me is that at the beginning of the season most people said that they expected the oilers to finish 9th-11th. They said that that would be a good step forward. Well here the oilers sit. Right there. And even through that’s where people pegged them, everyone is hating on the players and on the management. But if they keep up what they’ve done so far they will finish where we said would be a good improvement. Please people come back from the cliff! Don’t become Montreal and Vancouver fans! Stick with your team, root for your players, and enjoy this teams rise.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    The Oilers seem to be stuck in groundhog day.

    So who is scarred to lose? Some of the players? Or the coach?
    how many more time does this same movie have to played? Getting really boring.

  • vetinari

    Anybody notice how in the last 10 games, Columbus has collected 17 out of a possible 20 points– maybe there’s something to firing your GM that we SHOULD explore?

    Rather than looking at the games behind us, let’s look ahead– we have 19 games left with a possible 38 points on the table… most estimates say that 54 to 58 points will be the cut off point for this year’s playoffs and most of our games will be against teams higher than us in the standings like Vancouver, Anaheim, St. Louis and Minnesota.

    We will also need to almost double our current point total (29 points) in the 40% of the schedule that remains (19 games), and beat all these teams in regulation time because every three point game hurts the Oilers.

  • DSF

    Dubynk is not the only problem of this young team but he also isn’t the long term solution, he doesn’t making the big save to turn the tide that a true #1 makes, Jonathan is right about middle of the pack numbers but that will not give the players and the coaching staff confidence playing with the lead.Stats are not everything but his record in OT and shootout should tell you something.

  • Our heads are going to explode if we try to project what is going to happen on any given night in the west. It’s too tight. One night we could be 12th and the next we could be in 8th. We just need to put together a solid streak and stay in the hunt until the end. I definitely want to make the playoffs but progress is a process and if we finish within a few points of 8th, well that’s progress.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    I have to agree with what some of the Dubnyk haters have been saying on here. He does tend to let in the back-breaker for a couple of years now…not the sign of a very good #1 goalie. The stats might say otherwise, but as a guy who watches-rather than sift through stat lines- I don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling with Dubey in the cage.

    I think that because this team is horrible 5on5 and the PP has become mediocre, any flaw in any goaltender on this club would be magnified more than it maybe should be. In order to make the playoffs, Dubnyk would have to stand on his head every single night. For that reason I don’t think they will make the playoffs….too many good teams left between now and the end of the season.

    It is my hope that they can package Hemsky up with anybody and get Stewart out of St.Louis. Move Yakupov into Hemmers spot and get some grit/size/skill into the top 9 which they are sorely lacking. Wishful thinking I know, but there it is. Oh, and some defense would be nice.