As a devout Oilers fan, let me first say that I came to terms with the Oilers not making the playoffs after they dropped 6 in a row back in December. My only hope for the rest of the season was that they would somehow find a way out of the bottom 5 to not give Anaheim a lottery pick for Penner.
Imagine my surprise over the last 4 or 5 weeks as the Oilers have amazed everyone that they actually had a legitimate chance at making the postseason. Despite key injuries to Horcoff, Torres, Souray, and Moreau, and now with Garon on the sidelines and Roloson playing his best hockey of the year, the youthful Oilers have shown the Oil Country faithful that there is hope for the future and that future is closer than anyone thought possible.
There's no point in rehashing what every sport's writer who has written about the Oilers miracle run has already said. Let's just put it this way. It's been fun, but the party's over. A week ago, the Oilers could have had the postseason in their hands, but let the opportunity slip over with disappointing outings against Vancouver, and their most recent effort against Minnesota. The Oilers win those games and they're the ones in 8th, with a 3 point cushion on Nashville, and 4 points on Vancouver.
This is, of course, ideal and assuming nothing else in any other game would have been affected by our wins and Vancouver's subsequent losses. The other factor that comes into play here is Edmonton's inability to beat Nashville this season. Not only did we lose all 4 games this season against Nashville, but they were all regulation losses, where we were unable to get even a single point.
Nashville has an easy go of it the rest of the way, with games against St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit and Columbus. Nashville has the best record in their divisional games in their division, and only require 3 wins and one regulation loss by the Oilers to knock the Oilers out of contention. Vancouver on the other hand only requires 2 wins combined with one Oilers regulation loss to permanently seal the deal on the Oilers walking away with the worst record in the Northwest.
These are just the numbers as I see it. For the Oilers to even have a shot when the season looked so bleak just a couple of weeks ago and the Oilers 13 points out of contention is a comfort to all Oilers fans. Knowing now what the Oilers are capable of makes the future of the team look in good shape.
So here's to the Oilers and their future successes. Here's also to hoping that a miracle occurs and I'm completely wrong about their postseason chances.