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The Home Stretch

February 1, 2019, 2:53 PM ET [236 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT

I am still trying to put together a petition for a Family Zone at Rogers Place. Please take a look at the petition at the link here

Tomorrow, the Edmonton Oilers finally return to game action. I hope that the Edmonton Oilers have treated this break the same that I have; enjoy taking a break from discussing the team issues, well rested, and ready to get back into it.

As of today, the Oilers find themselves 3 points out of a Wild Card position... they also find themselves 13th in the West, with four teams ahead of them my the smallest of margins. It is going to be a dog-fight from now until April, any type of faltering will result in another season of no playoffs.

Here is what Edmonton needs to do over the next 32 games to make the playoffs.

1) Win

Brilliant hot takes I know. Many coaches have gotten to looking at success in 7 game series, with the obvious goal to always win a best of 7. Edmonton needs to at least keep on that pace to stay in the hunt, but will need some 5-6 game wins in those stretches as well. Breaking the remaining games down, here are your series.

Series 5: COL, SJS, CAL

2) Klefbom

Some conflicting information on Oscar Klefbom from the last couple of days. At first it appeared as though Klefbom was going to be ready for the Philly game, but then apparently re-injured his hand during practice. He was out skating this morning for a period of time. My guess is they hold him out of the lineup tomorrow but have him ready on the second of the back to back games in Montreal.

The Oilers defence is a nightmare without Oscar Klefbom. He is the closest thing the team has to a #1 defenseman and I would argue that he would be as such on a number of other teams as well. His return to the lineup should be a huge boon.

3) Post All-Star McDavid

Last season McDavid had 54 points through the first 49 games of the season. After the All-Star break McDavid had another 54 points, in only 33 games. McDavid went 26-28 54 in the second half of last season, resulting in him winning the Art Ross trophy. McDavid is usual will need to carry this team on his back and history shows us that this is the time of year he truly thrives.

4) Navigating The Deadline

The bar for the Oilers this year is to make the playoffs, not to win a Cup or even win a series, simply make it in. For that reason, whoever is running the show, be it Keith Gretzky, Bob Nicholson or whoever cannot afford to try and make a big deadline splash. Going after costly rentals like Duchene, Stone, Panarin, etc, simply cannot be in the cards for Edmonton.

Players like Panik, Dzingel, and Brassard are more likely bets that won't cost a 1st round pick.

5) Consistency

The Hitch blender has come out in true form over the past couple of weeks prior to the All-Star Break. Tomorrow night it looks like Nuge, McDavid, and Draisaitl will each be centering their own line. The Oilers lack scoring and depth and I understand that he is trying to get the most out of his lineup, but at some point he has to say enough.

In McLellans post-season interviews from last season, the players said they hated being juggled around so much. Find a combination that you can be satisfied with and let them play together and develop some understanding of each others patterns.
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