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Edmonton Oilers make playoffs for 1st time in 11 years

Edmonton Oilers make playoffs for 1st time in 11 years

Posted by PanamericanWorld on March 29, 2017

It’s the news Edmonton Oilers fans have waited 11 (long) years to hear. The team has clinched a spot in the NHL playoffs. It’s the first time the Oilers will see post-season action since 2006, when the team went all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals only to lose 3-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes.

A lot has changed since then. And we mean a lot. For starters, no one had an iPhone back then. The original version of the Apple smartphone was not released until June 29, 2007.

Connor McDavid and Eric Gryba scored, and Cam Talbot made 34 saves for the Oilers (42-25-9), who last qualified for the playoffs in 2006, when they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Final.

"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."

Jarome Iginla scored for the Kings (35-33-7), who are 11 points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference with seven games to play. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves.

"We don't want to be in this position," Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty said. "You can point your fingers at a bunch of games throughout the season that put us in this predicament. It [stinks], but we're still playing for this organization and for each other and we have to play as hard as we possibly can and do whatever it takes to win games even though we might be out of the race."

McDavid scored at 14:44 of the first period to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead. His pass for Patrick Maroon on a 2-on-1 rush hit Kings defenseman Derek Forbort and bounced in past Quick.

The Oilers had an apparent goal by defenseman Oscar Klefbom waved off 49 seconds into the game after Kings coach Darryl Sutter challenged for goaltender interference. Klefbom converted a centering pass from McDavid, but video review showed Maroon, standing in the crease, interfered with Quick.

Gryba gave Edmonton a 2-1 lead when he scored at 7:03 of the second period.

"It's a special feeling tonight, especially seeing how passionate the crowd was and how excited they were," said center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who was selected by the Oilers with the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. "Not too many of us in here have been through (missing the playoffs) for that long. We've had some tough years, but it's all worth it right now."

Zack Kassian appeared to give the Oilers a 3-1 lead at 2:08 of the third period, shooting the puck past Quick on a setup by David Desharnais, but play was stopped for a roughing penalty on Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb when defense partner Paul LaDue touched the puck.

Talbot made six saves in the final two minutes, including against defenseman Alec Martinez with 14 seconds left, about five seconds after Gryba blocked a Martinez shot off a scramble in front.

"We can't wait until the final five, 10 minutes to try and win a hockey game," Kings forward Tanner Pearsonsaid. "You have to put the full 60 minutes in. Maybe if we played like we did the last 10 minutes, we'd have given ourselves a good chance to win the hockey game."

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