Oilers grab playoff berth led by MacDavid, change training

The Edmonton Oilers secured a place in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs for the third consecutive season with a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.

It’s the first time the Oilers have qualified in three consecutive seasons since they reached five straight seasons from 1997-2001.

Edmonton was impressive early on, going 16-5-0 and leading the NHL in percentage (.762) and power-playing percentage (35.9 percent) on Dec. 1, but lost six in a row to start a 7-13-3 slide that led to an expulsion Coach Dave Tibbett on Feb 10.

Since new coach Jay Woodcroft took over, the Oilers have regained their strength, going 23-8-3.

The captain leads The Oilers Conor MacDavidwho has averaged 116 points (43 goals, 73 assists) in 77 games, leads the NHL it’s McDavid’s fifth season with 100 points since his debut in 2015-16. Leon Drystel He also surpassed 100 points with 107 points (54 goals, 53 assists) in 77 games. It’s the third time in the past four seasons that he’s scored 100 goals, and his 54 goals are his personal best in the National Hockey League.

The goal now is to do more with this opportunity. Edmonton has won one playoff series since losing seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, a six-game win against the San Jose Sharks at the 2017 Western Conference in the first round. The Oilers last won the Stanley Cup in 1990.

Edmonton’s previous two post-season appearances led to disappointment. In 2020, they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in four games in the Top 5 Stanley Cup playoffs, and last season the Winnipeg Jets swept them in the first round of the Stanley Cup Best of 7. In each series the Oilers were the top-ranked team; Last season, the Oilers finished second in the seven-team Northern League.

Ahead of the March 21 NHL trade deadline, the Oilers have made two additions to boost their depth. They exchanged a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft to the Philadelphia Flyers forward Derek Brassardand gained a defense man Britt Colak In trade with the Montreal Canadiens for the defense man William Lagsona conditional second-round selection in the 2022 NHL Draft and a seventh-round selection in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Here’s a look at the Oilers’ path to Annex Pier:

Most Valuable Player: McDavid continues to raise the bar. With four games remaining, he’s on track for 120 points, which would be the highest of his career in the National Hockey League. The 25-year-old is the nineteenth player in NHL history to have five seasons off 100 points and the sixth to have five seasons before his 26th birthday, joining Wayne Gretzky (eight), Mario Lemieux (six), Dale Hoerschuk (six), Brian Trotier (five) and Bobby Orr (five).

Unknown hero: defenseman Cody Sissy, who signed a four-year contract with Oilers on July 28, 2021, was tough to do. He had to replace him Adam Larson, who was a tough-to-play and defensive-minded player who chose to sign with the Seattle Kraken as an unrestricted free agent. Ceci has averaged 20:57 ice time in 74 games and scored 27 career NHL points (five goals, 22 assists).

An unforgettable moment: McDavid already had many incredible moments, but his 17:01 third-half equalizer against the New York Rangers on November 5 will be included in that group. McDavid combined the disc between the red line and the blue line in New York and crossed the cross ice for a moment while searching for his opening. He then quickly sped toward the net and made his way through the four Rangers (Patrick NemethAnd Kevin RooneyAnd Jacob Troup And Dryden Hunt) Before goalkeeper deked Alexander Georgiev. Edmonton won 6-5 in overtime.

Video: McDavid scores a stunning goal against Rangers

key number: 2.74 goals per game Edmonton has allowed in 33 games since Woodcroft took charge. In 44 games under Tippett, the Oilers have allowed 3.32. They also score more goals for Woodcroft, 3.85 goals per game compared to 3.18.

A question mark: Improving the team’s defense and playing strength in the second half of Mike Smith (15-9-2, 2.88 goals-to-average, .913 savings, two shots in 27 games) and Mikko Koskinen (25-11-4, 3.09 GAA, .902 save percentage, 1 stop in 42 games) reduced the panic over the goalkeeper. But Smith is 40 and has a history of injuries and Koskinen proved overwhelmed at times when Smith was sidelined.

Reason Oilers can win it all: If the goalkeeping continues, the oilers have the skill and depth of difference that can translate into momentum at the most important time of the season.

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