The Edmonton Oilers struck first on Saturday afternoon, taking a 1-0 lead on the Vancouver Canucks thanks to an Adam Larsson goal. The Oilers, however, didn’t beat Thatcher Demko again and dropped a 4-1 decision to the Canucks. The loss ends Edmonton’s regular season on a slightly sour note, but there is no time to dwell with the Stanley Cup Playoffs just days away.
“It would have been nice to end on a high note, but we’ve had a great season and now the important stuff starts,” Tyson Barrie told reporters after the Oilers completed their 35-19-2 season. “It’s nice to get that one out of the way.”
Now, as Barrie says, the important stuff starts. The Oilers will kick off the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night when they play host to the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1. The sides will meet for Game 2 on Friday before playing back-to-back on Sunday and Monday in Winnipeg.
The Oilers will get three days of practice and preparation time ahead of their series with the Jets starting on Wednesday night. While the Oilers have the third-best record in the NHL since January 30th, that time is much needed in the eyes of Head Coach Dave Tippett.
“Our players recognize that there’s a lot of work ahead,” Tippett said of preparation for the series. “You earn the right to be a playoff team and we’ve done good work this year. We’ve earned the right to be in there and now we have to take another step. Our team has to be at its best come Wednesday.”
Luckily for the Oilers, they have been at their best when facing the Jets this season. The Oilers have won six straight against Winnipeg, and finished the season series with a 7-2-0 record. It won’t be easy, but Edmonton has enjoyed success in this matchup this season.
As for Saturday’s loss? The Oilers aren’t sweating it. At the end of the day, they got out of the game healthy, which was the most important thing.
“That game was a win if nobody got hurt, and nobody got hurt so we’re taking a win,” Tippett added. “It was a game that had no meaning to it from our side, so we got through it fine.”