The Edmonton Oilers are finally back in the playoffs.
Cam Talbot made 34 saves as Edmonton Oilers officially earned a postseason berth for the first time in 11 years with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
”It’s a special feeling tonight, especially seeing how passionate the crowd was and how excited they were,” Edmonton forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. ”We’ve had some tough years, but it’s all worth it right now.”
Connor McDavid and Eric Gryba scored for the Oilers, who have won seven of their last eight games. Edmonton last made the postseason in the 2005-06 campaign.
”It’s definitely special, you saw the excitement in the building,” McDavid said. ”The fans are excited, we’re excited. There is a lot of work left to be done still, though.”
Talbot agreed that the Oilers can’t celebrate as if simply making it into the playoffs is enough.
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”That is just a checkmark next to our name,” Talbot said. ”It is nice that we know we are going to be playing for it, but we have another race, and that is for first place in the division.”
Jarome Iginla scored and Jonathan Quick finished with 27 saves for the Kings, who have lost four of their last five and whose playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread.
”At this time of year you want to be locking up playoff spots and getting ready for a big push,” Kings assistant captain Jeff Carter said. ”A little different, but we’ll play right to the end.”
The Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks also clinched playoff spots with Edmonton’s win.
The Oilers appeared to have scored just 49 seconds in on Oscar Klefbom’s backhander, but the goal was called back on goaltender interference.
McDavid’s pass hit the stick of defender Derek Forbort and deflected past Quick as the Oilers made up for that decision with five minutes left in the opening period. It was McDavid’s 27th goal of the season and league-leading 89th point, extending point streaks for himself and Leon Draisaitl to eight games apiece.
The Kings responded with three minutes remaining in the first as Iginla picked off a soft attempt to advance the puck by Talbot and beat him high to the glove side.
Edmonton regained the lead seven minutes into the second period as Gryba’s point shot caromed off a pair of Kings players before inching past Quick and into the net.
The Oilers what looked like another sure goal by Zack Kassian called back because the whistle had gone due to an upcoming penalty to the Kings.
NOTES: It was the fourth of five meetings this season between the two teams, with the Oilers taking the last two. They meet again in Los Angeles on April 4. … Among the healthy scratches for the Kings were Marian Gaborik and Andy Andreoff. … Oilers D Matt Benning missed the game after suffering an injury on Saturday, but did participate in the morning skate. … Edmonton’s 42 wins thus far this season are the most by an Oilers team since 1988.
Kings: At Calgary on Wednesday night.
Oilers: Host San Jose on Thursday night.
All the results from Tuesday in the NBA:
Dallas Stars 1-4 Montreal Canadiens
Washington Capitals 5-4 Minnesota Wild
Los Angeles Kings 1-2 Edmonton Oilers
Anaheim Ducks 4-1 Vancouver Canucks
New York Rangers 4-5 San Jose Sharks