The Edmonton Oilers will have home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 1990.
They locked that up with a 3-2 win in Vancouver Saturday night. Oilers Entertainment Group CEO Bob Nicholson told Hockey Night in Canada that their first game will likely be at Rogers Place on Wednesday.
Jordan Eberle opened the scoring 1:01 into the second period, snapping his 17th of the season past Ryan Miller. Brock Boeser replied with a power play goal late in the frame.
With 31 seconds left in the second, Reid Boucher took a double minor for high-sticking Letestu. 3:04 into the third, Letestu deflected home a pass from Connor McDavid to put the Oilers up 2-1. McDavid extended his point streak to 13 games.
Later in the third, Milan Lucic came out of the penalty box and took a pass from Matthew Benning. Lucic fought off Troy Stecher to get a shot away. Miller made the save, but Iiro Pakarinen swooped in to bury the rebound. Alexander Edler scored in the final minute for Vancouver.
Cam Talbot made 29 saves for his 42nd win of the season.
Head Coach Todd McLellan said things have been going much better this year.
“Obviously our past wasn’t where it needed to be for a number of years, but we felt last year we made a lot of strides. Just got bit by the injury bug – as Vancouver is experiencing now – and it’s hard to win games without your top players for any extended period of time,” McLellan explained. “Knock on wood, we’ve been healthy for most of the season. But the foundation work we did last year is paying off this year, now.”
The Oilers improve to 46-26-9 and top 100 points for the first time since 1986/87. They’ll host Vancouver to close out the regular season on Sunday. If the Oilers win and Anaheim loses in regulation time to Los Angeles, the Oilers will finish first in the Pacific Division and play Calgary in the first round. Any other results would pit Edmonton against San Jose in round one.
Laurent Brossoit is expected to start in goal for the Oilers on Sunday. (jrw)