Tuesday, March 23, 2004

21 of 26

You want a reason for the success of the Edmonton Oilers and why they have clawed their way back into the playoff race in the NHL west, then the above is your evidence.

Credits to Neil MacRae of CKNW, he first pointed out the Oilers' spectacular run on statistics in his morning sports today. Thirteen games, 21 of 26 points taken, it is almost perfection. The Oilers have been the hottest team in the league of late, putting together a game plan that has finally rewarded coach Craig MacTavish with not only hard work, but results as well.

The winning ways continued on Monday night, the Oilers going into Los Angeles and taking 2 points away from the Kings with a 2-1 victory, vaulting themselves into a seventh place tie with Nashville in the West. The Blues are now the odd team out, in the always changing playoff picture in the West.

Ryan Smyth was the hero of the night, cut, bloody and determined he scored the winning goal on a deflection late in the third. The Kings had battled back to tie the Oilers, with Luc Robitaille passing Johnny Bucyk's point totals for a left winger with an assist. But that would be the end of the celebration for the Kings and their fans, Smyth countered with his goal two minutes later. The celebration worthy of a Stanley Cup championship. The beauty for the Oilers is that they can control their own destiny now, not having to depend on others to keep them in the playoff hunt.

For a team that many had doubts about at the all star break the turn around has been nothing but remarkable. The Oil is definitely back, with both them and the Flames flying high at the moment, Alberta hockey is pretty hot. It's a little bit early to think about it, but, are we in store for another of the storied battles of Alberta? It will take a few lucky breaks down the line, but the way both teams are playing at the moment it's not beyond the realm of belief. CBC must be rubbing their hands with glee, a Flames/Oilers matchup would catch the interest across the country, one just hopes that it's much later in the playoffs. These are teams you'll want to watch go a long way!

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