The Edmonton Oilers’ five-game homestand hasn’t gone well, leaving them hoping their games will still mean something when it ends later this week.
The Oilers look for a second straight win and try to boost their slim playoff hopes Tuesday night when they meet the Los Angeles Kings.
Edmonton (37-33-9) seemed poised to make a serious push for the postseason when it opened this homestand on March 29. However, the Oilers lost the first three games before snapping that skid with a 5-3 win over Vancouver on Saturday.
After playing Los Angeles (32-36-11), they host Calgary on Friday before visiting the Flames to end the season the following day. The Oilers are now hoping those games against their arch-rivals will still have a bearing on their fate.
“It just feels good to win a game and to get some smiles around here,” Oilers captain Ethan Moreau said Saturday. “We just want those last two games against Calgary to mean something. More for our own psyche than anything else.”
Edmonton is three points behind St. Louis and Nashville in the race for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
“It was a big win, for sure,” Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said after his 300th career win. “It buys us a little time and buys us a little hope and that’s all we could ask for going into the game tonight.”
The Oilers had five different players score Saturday, with Sam Gagner getting a goal and two assists, but the star was Dwayne Roloson. The goalie made 43 saves, including 22 without allowing a goal in the second period.
Ales Hemsky also had a goal and an assist after he’d failed to score in the Oilers’ three losses on the homestand.
All three games this season between Edmonton and Los Angeles have gone down to the wire. The Kings won 2-1 on Nov. 28 before the Oilers responded with two shootout victories.
Oilers left wing Patrick O’Sullivan will face his former team for the first time since he was involved in a three-team deal that send him to Edmonton on March 4. He had 37 points in 62 games with the Kings, and has five in 16 contests with the Oilers.
“It’s a weird feeling,” O’Sullivan said. “Once (Tuesday) comes and I start thinking about the game, I probably won’t feel too worried about it. But it will be weird. I was there for almost three years and a lot of friends on the other team. It’s a situation I haven’t been through before. So it’ll be new.
“At the end of the day, it’s a game and there’s no friends on the ice and we need a win. So that’s what it comes down to.”
Wayne Simmonds netted the lone goal for Los Angeles in a 4-1 loss at Calgary on Monday. The Kings have lost four out of their last five games.
“We need to be a lot more excited and hungry as a team,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said. “It was disappointing tonight.”
The Kings have scored one goal or none in six of their last seven games away from home.