Oilers become fourth team to make conference finals after being 10 points out of playoffs

Oilers celebrate Dylan Holloway goal
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
24 days ago
As the Western Conference Finals got underway Thursday night, the Oilers achieved a rare feat that has only been done four times in NHL history.
They became the fourth team in NHL history to reach the conference finals after being at least 10 points out of a playoff spot at one point during the season. The other three teams to have achieved this were the Blues and Hurricanes in 2019 and the Oilers in 1991. Two of these teams would ultimately fall short in the third round, while St. Louis was able to go all the way and capture the Stanley Cup.
It really is quite remarkable to see the Oilers reach this point because the sheer thought of them being four wins away from the Stanley Cup Finals seemed like a pipedream back in mid-November. You don’t need me to remind you of how things were dire after they lost to the Sharks to drop their record to 2-9-1 which would cost Jay Woodcroft his job and force the team to put Jack Campbell on waivers.
No one at that time thought Edmonton would be able to salvage their season enough that they could propel themselves onto a deep playoff run, yet that is exactly what transpired. Whether it be the introduction of Kris Knoblauch as coach, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl finding their form, Stuart Skinner going on a heater, the 16-game win streak, or a combination of all that and more, the Oilers got out of the depths of the NHL basement and take a 180 on their fortunes in a matter of months.  There is no doubt that this team has always had it in them to do great things in the spring, but for them to do so when it felt like they were destined to be tanking for Macklin Celebrini six months ago is incredible.
Stats just like this one put into perspective just how rare their turnaround was because teams are never supposed to be in contention for the Cup if they are out of the playoff picture by American Thanksgiving. Yet here are the Blue and Orange looking to pass their toughest test of the playoffs so far in the Stars. No matter what happens next, just getting to the WCF after once being a basement dweller is an impressive accomplishment.
They can make it even more so if they take care of business against Dallas, beginning with Game 1 tonight. Catch the action on Sportsnet with puck drop set for 6:30 p.m. MDT.

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