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'Stay loud Oil Country': McDavid pumped for the playoffs, Oilers can still win conference


Edmonton is headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth season in a row, clinching their spot with a 6-0 win over Anaheim Saturday night.

The Oilers have 99 points with five games remaining. Edmonton is also two points behind Las Vegas, which leads both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference.

"It's a big deal. That's what the regular season is all about, is to give yourself a chance to play in the playoffs," captain Connor McDavid said on Saturday.

On Monday he tweeted several photos with the caption: "Clinched. Stay loud Oil Country."

It is the fifth time in eight years with the Oilers that McDavid, the NHL's top scorer this season, has led his team to the playoffs.

In 2019-20, the Oilers lost in the pandemic qualifying tournament to Chicago.

A year later, they were swept by Winnipeg. Last year they broke through by knocking out L.A. and Calgary before falling to the Colorado Avalanche.

Now, Edmonton is headed to California for three games against Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose.

The Oilers will then play in Colorado next Tuesday before wrapping up their season at home against the Sharks on April 13.

If the Oilers are able to climb over L.A. and Vegas, it would be the first division win for the franchise in 36 years. It would also likely give them home-ice advantage for the first three rounds of the playoffs.

"There's lots to be played for. It's a tight conference. It's a tight division. There's a lot left on the table for us," McDavid said.

Head coach Jay Woodcroft said although his team is 9-0-1 in its last 10 games, the Oilers are not a finished product just yet.

"We like where our team's trending. I don't think we're at the level we're capable of yet, but I think as we work our way down the stretch, every game's an opportunity or a dress rehearsal, to make sure we're going to be ready for game 83," he told reporters.

No matter where the Oilers finish in the standings, Woodcroft is certain the city will be behind his team when the playoffs start in a few weeks.

"Look outside on the street after a game and it's electric. You feel the sense of community with everyone wearing the blue and orange," he said.

"Hockey means a lot to the city of Edmonton, a lot. And our team and our players, we all recognize that, and we're going to work to make them proud."

Sniper Leon Draisaitl said Monday that Edmonton is "very special" during the playoffs. He has 59 points in 37 postseason games for the Oilers.

"We're looking to give them a long run and hopefully at the end we'll be there with the Stanley Cup, but there's a lot of work to be done before that," he told reporters.

Outside of Rogers Place, Oilers fans spoke about their excitement for the next few weeks and what it would mean if the team makes another long playoff run.

"They’ve got a team this year that is definitely above what they had last year. We’re going all the way. I work downtown here and the energy level it brings to the downtown core is unbelievable!" said fan Lionel Dussault

"My flag is up already after the Anaheim win!" Pradeep Kulkarni said.

"I kind of wished Calgary would make it as well, I don’t think that’s going to happen this year. It really just brings the city alive, downtown just comes alive and it’s bustling!" Nolan Carter recalled.

The Oilers (45-23-9) face off against the Kings (45-22-10) on Tuesday shortly after 8:30 p.m. MT.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Marek Tkach Top Stories

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