March 16 2008 01:09PM
The Oilers (8-2-0 in their past ten) face the Sharks (10-0-0 in their past ten tonight) at 6pm. As we all witnessed last night in their 5–2 slapping of the Coyotes, the Oil seem to have a lot of gas left in their tank down the stretch run, and quite frankly are playing some decent puck.
It's amazing that the Oil have been playing at this pace for the past three weeks, and are still seven points back of eighth place in the Western Conference. They're tied with Colorado for the second-hottest team in the West, and only the high-flying Sharks have been better over the past ten games.
Oilers are breaking NHL records left and right. Heck, the HHOF wants Cogliano's stick and gloves for his NHL record three OT winners in a row. They can put it next to the sticks of Alex Smart and Real Cloutier—who share the NHL record for most goals in their first NHL game with 3—and call the display case "Rookies you may never hear from again that have done something interesting in 3s."
Yup, these are heady times by all accounts in the OilersNation, but there has been no big closing of the gap between the Oil and Vancouver for 8th place. This could change tonight if the Oil beat the Sharks. The three teams the Oil are fighting with for 8th have been basically asleep now for the past 14 days, playing some mediocre hockey at best.
Vancouver is 4-4-2 in their past ten. People are checking the Sedins for a pulse, Luongo has been looking VERY human of late, and they aren't scaring anyone with their physical play.
Nashville (4-6-0) and Phoenix (5-5-0) aren't exactly lighting the world on fire either. You'd have to like the Oil's chances if they were to pull into dog fight territory in the next couple of games.
So you sit there and think, "OK the Oilers are playing well. But so what? They would need to bascially snatch points from each of these teams standing in their way down the stretch to have any sort of chance."
Well lambs, with ten games still to play, look who the Oil face in the games remaining this year:
- Phoenix (one game)
- Vancouver (two games)
- Minnesota (two games)
- Colorado (two games)
- Calgary (two games)
There are a lot of points left on the board against the very teams the Oilers are playing against for 8th place. And they're the only team playing with any sort of momentum.
Beat the Sharks tonight, and teams will take notice.
Beat the Sharks tonight, and MacT should be locked up if he ever tries to "reign in the kids" and make them play two-way hockey.
Beat the Sharks tonight, and you can close within five points of a playoff spot, and be riding a pretty decent momentum wave.
Beat the Sharks, and really, it's on.
—Listen to Wanye Gretz between 4 and 5pm on Thursdays as he calls Magic 99 to request "anything by Celine Dion."