Although they're not mathematically eliminated, one particular Oilers fan feels pretty convinced that his team won't be making the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Coming into their 70th game of the season on Wednesday, the Oilers were gaining momentum in a playoff push, having won six of their last nine games. Facing a Devils team on a back-to-back that were shellacked 9-4 by the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, the Oilers brought an uninspired effort in which captain Connor McDavid described as his team not taking them seriously enough.
Sitting third-last in the Eastern Conference, the Devils dressed several players from their AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Devils, but still mustered up six goals past Mikko Koskinen and Anthony Stolarz. With three teams in front of them -- the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild -- and six points separating them from the second wild-card seed currently occupied by the Arizona Coyotes, the odds are against the Oilers for playing hockey into late April, as evidenced by this sign below.
“This is the red flag game,” coach Ken Hitchcock said post-game. “You’ve had so many games with such a high level of intensity because you’re trying to catch up and the minute you take your foot off the gas or the minute you catch your breath, you get burned. We got burned.”
If the Oilers end up on the outside looking in, they will have missed the post-season in 12 of the last 13 seasons dating back to their 2006 Stanley Cup run.