Home Pay off Betting pays off for Edmonton Oilers advancing to playoffs

Betting pays off for Edmonton Oilers advancing to playoffs

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Bringing in striker Evander Kane and then coach Jay Woodcroft to replace Dave Tippett worked better than general manager Ken Holland could have imagined.

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General manager Ken Holland rolled the dice and it paid off for the Edmonton Oilers.

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Bringing in forward Evander Kane, then coach Jay Woodcroft to replace Dave Tippett, and sticking to his goaltending tandem worked better than Holland could have imagined as the Oilers officially landed a ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 6-3 win over Colorado. Avalanche at Rogers Place on Friday.

Kane had three goals and an assist in the win, while Woodcroft improved to 22-8-3 since taking over with Dave Manson as winger on Feb. 10 and goaltender Mike Smith won his eighth consecutive departure; fourth in a row.

“We’re winning puck battles 50-50, blocking a shot, making a play on the wall, we’ve seen a big improvement in that over the last two months and it’s the little things that help win,” said said Woodcroft. after Friday’s victory. “It’s something we try to celebrate and we’ve had the success we’ve had because the players put it into play that way.”

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Heading to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets on Sunday afternoon (11 a.m., Sportsnet West, 630 CHED) in the first of a two-game road trip, all that remains to be determined for the Oilers is playoff positioning. . They took a four-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division with one game less.

The Oilers play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, then close out the regular season at home with back-to-back games against the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks.

The Oilers are almost certain to open the playoffs at home against the Kings in a best-of-seven series. They will play playoff games in front of fans for the first time since 2017.

“I think that atmosphere is part of what we play for,” said Leon Draisaitl. “At the end of the day, the main goal is to win the Stanley Cup, but it’s fun to see these people come and cheer us on. Even when things don’t go our way, they seem to find a way to support us. We’re excited to be here and Stage 1 is complete.

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The Oilers haven’t won a playoff since losing San Jose in the first round in 2017. The team with two of the best forwards in the world lost in the preliminary round to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Edmonton bubble in 2020 , then were swept by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2021 playoffs, into empty buildings.

The goal this season was not just to make the playoffs, but to make a run there.

Getting there, however, proved to be a bit of a rollercoaster with goalie struggles, coaching change and the controversial signing of Kane, whose contract was canceled in San Jose for off-ice violations.

“It was a bit too much of a season of ups and downs, I think everyone would agree with that,” Draisaitl said. “But these things happen. Good teams go through this and we knew from the start of the season that we had a good team. It was difficult for us to stay healthy, it’s a big problem.

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“That being said, every team goes through this. I thought for the most part we had done a pretty decent job, other than that long (lost) period, of staying in the game. There have been a lot of changes, but we’ve found our game and it’s exciting, and that’s good news for the playoffs.

The Oilers are playing arguably their best pre-playoff hockey since making it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006. This could be some of the best hockey the Oilers have played since Draisaitl and McDavid arrived. .

The Oilers are 10-1-1 in their last 12 games and a perfect 8-0-0 with lucky five-year-old Ben Stelter at Rogers Place. Stelter is battling glioblastoma, which is a form of brain tumor, and undergoing radiation treatments, but has been an integral part of Rogers Place since being introduced to the team a month ago.

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“I think it’s up there for sure,” Draisaitl said. “In 2017 we had a really good team and a good run at the end and we were playing well in the playoffs. Last season we were playing well after a difficult start. It’s definitely up there. We have to make sure we take that confidence in the playoffs and keep going.

Remarks: The Oilers made the trip to Columbus without defenseman Darnell Nurse, who was injured in the second period in a net battle with Avalanche forward JT Compher. Nurse suffered a lower-body injury in the battle and Woodcroft didn’t get an update on his No. 1 defender after the game. “I didn’t even watch the video, I just know he wasn’t available to us,” he said. “I really don’t have a lot of information. We were just talking as coaching staff in the room and kinda watching the chances (on video) and stuff like that. It would be too early to tell; we will have a lot more information (Saturday). The Oilers had no media availability prior to leaving for Columbus.

Email: [email protected]

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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