The Edmonton Oilers can officially punch their ticket into the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday night.
The Oilers, who sit second in the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference, can clinch a berth in the playoffs with a win or overtime or shootout loss in their game against the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Place on Saturday.
A point of any kind would put Edmonton at 98 on the season, moving them 16 clear of the Nashville Predators, who sit outside the playoff picture looking in.
A loss by the Predators to the St. Louis Blues, in any fashion, also locks the Oilers in.
The @EdmontonOilers may be in the 2023 #StanleyCup Playoffs before they hit the ice tonight. If not, they’ll have a chance when they host the Ducks at 10 p.m. ET on @hockeynight, @Sportsnet, CITY and BSSC.#NHLStats: https://t.co/B8lYyaHDrf pic.twitter.com/q5aqSO78EO
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 1, 2023
“I think every game, especially now over the last three weeks, is very important for us,” goalie Stuart Skinner, who had himself a record-setting March, said according to the team’s site. “Every single win is going to feel very good. We’re fighting for playoffs, we’re fighting for home advantage, we’re fighting for a lot. We can look at that, but the big thing is just being able to go one game at a time. I thought we did a great job staying in the moment.”
Nashville has eight games remaining for a possible 16 points. If they ran the table, and Edmonton lost out the rest of the way, the Predators would tie the Oilers at 98 points. Edmonton, however, already holds the tie-breaker with 40 regulation wins.
Netting a single point against the Ducks shouldn’t be too much of an ask for the streaking Oilers. They’re the NHL’s hottest team exiting March, with a 12-2-1 record for 25 points and an .833 points percentage.
Anaheim, on the other hand, sits second-last in the Western Conference with a 23-42-10 record for 56 points and a .373 points percentage. They’ve won just two of their past 10, and enter action Saturday riding a six-game losing streak.
The Oilers, who boast a 23-5-6 record since January 10, still have a shot at division and conference titles, too.
Edmonton sits two points back of the Vegas Golden Knights for first in both the Pacific and West, though they have played one more game. The Oilers would also need to leapfrog the Minnesota Wild, who lead the Central Division. The Wild also sit at 97 points, but have played one fewer game.
They also had a clinching scenario on Friday, March 31.
A loss of any kind by the Winnipeg Jets, who hold the second wild card into the playoffs from the West, against the Detroit Red Wings would’ve punched Edmonton’s ticket into the playoffs.
Instead, a dance with the Ducks on Saturday will do the same for the Oilers.