The Edmonton Oilers are playing their most consistent hockey of the season— they just hope they have enough time to claim a playoff spot.
The Oilers will be trying to inch closer to postseason position on Monday when they host the Northwest Division-leading Minnesota Wild.
Edmonton (38-33-5) has won 11 of its last 14 games, including Saturday’s 7-5 victory over Colorado. The Oilers are in last place in the Northwest, but have moved within three points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Sam Gagner scored twice on Saturday as Edmonton won despite blowing a three-goal lead heading into the third period.
“I’m down to my last nerve,” coach Craig MacTavish said. “It wasn’t easy. It should have been a lot easier than it was. We had a great start and then we lacked a little composure in those key situations. Perhaps the youthfulness comes into play. The good thing is that we are getting the experience and still winning the games.”
The Oilers scored at least seven goals for the second time in three games, including an 8-4 win over Phoenix on Tuesday, and bounced back from Thursday’s 4-1 loss to Vancouver. Not counting shootout goals, Edmonton has averaged 3.57 goals during its 14-game run.
For the season, the Oilers are scoring just 2.68 goals per game.
“We had two great periods, scored a lot of goals and then the first 10 of the third they scored three right away and had the momentum,” Marc Pouliot, who had a goal and an assist, told the Oilers’ official team Web site. “It was a high scoring game, but we’ll take it for sure.”
Ales Hemsky, who leads the team with 47 assists and 67 points, had three assists after also getting three against the Coyotes on Tuesday.
“We were able to battle through the adversity and that’s a big building block for the team,” said goalie Dwayne Roloson, who made 29 saves in his fifth straight start. “We took a couple steps backwards in our last game but we found a way to get moving forward again.”
Edmonton has dropped nine of its last 11 against Minnesota (40-27-9), going 2-8-1. However, the Oilers won 4-2 at home on Feb. 12 in the last meeting behind two goals from Kyle Brodziak.
The Wild lost 5-4 to Calgary on Saturday, trimming its division lead over the Flames to just one point. Minnesota and Edmonton are both playing the third game on a season-ending eight-game stretch of division games.
“All the teams keep on winning, it’s pretty scary to watch, but if we keep winning there shouldn’t be a problem,” said Benoit Pouliot, who scored his first two NHL goals.
Defenseman Kim Johnsson also had two goals for Minnesota, which lost in regulation for the first time in eight games (3-1-4).