It’s going to be a new feeling for the Edmonton Oilers when they return from the Christmas break.
That feeling is called the playoff race.
“It’s nice for sure, it’s a good feeling to know that we’re in the race,” Oilers forward Taylor Hall told the Edmonton Sun. “These games after Christmas are really important. I haven’t had that for a long time and we still have some guys out with injuries too, and that’s a really promising sign.”
Among the injured is, of course, Connor McDavid, who said today that he’s feeling “very good” as he continues to recover from his broken clavicle. If all goes well, he could be back as soon as next month.
Depending what happens tonight, the Oilers (15-18-2) could come out of the break just one point back of third place in the Pacific Division.
Granted, that’s nothing to brag too hard about — it’s the Pacific Division, after all — but hey, it’s better than the Oilers’ situation last year when the standings looked like this coming out of the break:
Or the year before, when the standings looked like this:
True, the Oilers were right in the thick of the race when the year 2013 began, but that was only because the lockout wiped out the first half of the season. After making it all the way to April without collapsing, they won just three of their last 12 and fired the coach again.
Just a reminder: the Oilers last made the playoffs in 2006, the year they went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
That’s the longest postseason drought in the league. Carolina is next; the Hurricanes haven’t been since 2009.