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The Edmonton Oilers might rest some star players in their last regular season games, but that depends on the Vancouver Canucks

Ryan McLeod Edmonton Oilers
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
18 days ago
There are two generally meaningless games left in the Edmonton Oilers regular season.
They visit the Coyotes on Wednesday in what will surely be the franchise’s last game in Arizona in its current state, before hopping across the Four Corners to visit the Colorado Avalanche the following night.
What should happen is the Oilers rest players like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Mattias Ekholm and Evan Bouchard for at least one of these games. Those choices hang in the balance of what happens in Tuesday night’s game between the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames, Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch said. That’s because the Canucks, three points ahead of the Oilers, are on the precipice of clinching the Pacific Division title, needing just one standings point to do so.
If Vancouver loses their 81st game of the regular season in regulation, that opens the door for the Oilers to win the division, needing to then beat both the Coyotes and Avalanche in any fashion.
“We’re going to wait and see and make that decision tomorrow after Vancouver’s game (before making lineup decisions,” Knoblauch said after Monday’s win over the Sharks. “If Vancouver wins, it’s really easy for us to take guys out, because those games don’t mean anything, we’re definitely finishing second place.
“If they lose, then that makes it a little more difficult. The goal is to win as many games as possible and we’d like to finish first in our division, but we have to make those decisions later. Right now, we kind of have an idea. After (Tuesday) night, I think we’ll be really making decisions then.”
Despite the potential of winning the Pacific, which would open the door to the Oilers playing the Nashville Predators in the first round of the playoffs, it appears much more likely for them to face one of the LA Kings or Vegas Golden Knights. According to hockeyviz.com, the Oilers have just a four percent chance of playing the Preds, while they have a 45 percent chance of playing the Kings and a 51 percent chance of facing the Golden Knights.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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