Edmonton Oilers: Playoff Hopes Slipping Away

By Carl Maloney
Scott Rovak – USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers are starting to see their playoff hopes slipping further and further away. Another loss on Monday, a 3-2 defeat to the Nashville Predators, gave more breathing room to yet another team the Oilers are chasing.

The win gives the Preds 34 points and a tie for 8th spot in the conference. The Oilers, on the other hand, stay in 13th spot with 29 points.

They won’t have to wait long to trying and regain some footing as they face the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night. The Blues are another team the Oilers will be looking for some revenge against, as they lost at home on Saturday night at Rexall Place 3-0, putting forth a very poor effort.

The Oilers have 17 games left on the schedule and will need to start putting together some consistent wins if they want to be even within striking distance of a playoff spot down the stretch. They are five points out of eighth at the moment, but have five teams to jump over to get there.

A good step in the right direction would be a win against the Blues tonight. After the effort they put in on Saturday and being booed off the ice by their own fans, one would think the motivation should be there.

The Oilers did get Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back into the lineup after his bout with the flu, but again lost Eric Belanger, who did not return after the game. He has been placed on injured reserve and will not play.

Lineup changes for Tuesday’s game will include Mark Fistric coming out in favour of Ryan Whitney, and Nikolai Khabibulin will get the start in net. Speculation is that Ralph Krueger is planning on mixing his lines up, but specific combinations have not been revealed. St. Louis will counter with rookie Jake Allen in net.

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