The Edmonton Oilers will wrap up the regular season with 14 games this month. The team is vying for their third consecutive playoff appearance and jockeying for home ice. But there are some tough opponents along the way and some easier ones.
The playoff cutoff is typically 95 points, and the Oilers sit at 81. If they can hold a .500 rate and win seven games in April, it is a safe bet that they will qualify. They control their own fate, with a three-point lead on the Vegas Golden Knights and one game in hand. The top three teams in each division are a lock to make the playoffs, so if the Oilers fall out, the Golden Knights are now the only realistic team to kick them out. The Vancouver Canucks were hanging around until they lost consecutive games to the St. Louis Blues and now sit eight points behind the Oilers with one extra game played.
Here’s a look at what should be exciting and very meaningful games for the Oilers in the final month of the 2021-22 regular season.
Edmonton Oilers @ Los Angeles Kings – 04/07
The Oilers’ next big game is against the Los Angeles Kings, the team they are battling with for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. These teams are one of the most likely to face off if the standings remain stable for the rest of the month; the Calgary Flames are securely in first in the division, and the Golden Knights are a few points back.
We got a glimpse of what a possible playoff series could entail between the two after a 4-3 shootout win for the Oilers at home. Edmonton is now 1-1 at home and 1-0 on the road vs the Kings this season, and home-ice advantage will be a factor in the outcome of this series, which is what these teams will be fighting for in their next matchup.
This will be a four-point game if it ends in regulation. The Oilers have won eight in a row at home, one off their franchise record, so they would love to have the first two games in their home arena in the first round. But they have also lost five in a row on the road, four against playoff teams in the Western Conference.
Related: Oilers’ Potential 2022 Playoff Matchups: Pros & Cons
Though the Kings have a better road record than home record this season, they will still feel the advantage of playing at home and avoid any momentum gained by the Oilers if they play two games at home to start. This game is in Los Angeles in the fourth and final matchup between these teams this regular season. The Oilers will have road games against the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks before their bout with the Kings, so they will have easier opponents to figure things out away from home.
Edmonton Oilers vs Colorado Avalanche – 04/09/22
This game is just two days after the battle against the Kings in a highly anticipated round two against the Colorado Avalanche. The first game this season went to the Avalanche 3-2 in overtime after a controversial missed call in the Oilers’ zone. Nazem Kadri ripped the helmet off Darnell Nurse and forced him to go to the bench, leaving Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar open for a two-on-one to seal the game (from “The Avalanche edge the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in a dandy O/T tilt in Denver”, Edmonton Journal, 3/22/22).
This was a fast-paced and very entertaining game, and Oilers fans should be okay with one point on the road against the top team in the league. This time, the game is on the Oilers’ home ice, where, as I mentioned, they are on an eight-game win streak. They play just one more game at home before they face the Avalanche, so they could be looking to set a new franchise record with 10 consecutive home wins in this game.
The Avalanche will be without captain Gabriel Landeskog but may have Samuel Girard back in time. Edmonton is rolling at full strength and will need it to compete. It should be a great game once again and a good test for the Oilers to see how they match up once again against the best.
Edmonton Oilers vs Vegas Golden Knights – 04/16
The most important game left on the schedule is against the Golden Knights. This contest comes halfway through the month, with only six games remaining afterward. This could be the straw that makes or breaks the Golden Knights’ season since they could be taken out of the playoff race with an Oilers win in regulation.
Like the season series against the Kings, the Oilers have gone 2-1 vs the Golden Knights. But what’s different with this series is the Oilers won the first two games on the road in regulation and then dropped one 4-0 in Dave Tippett’s second-last game as head coach and Mike Smith‘s first game back from a month-long injury.
Since the last time these teams met, Jay Woodcroft has the Oilers on the right track, and they are now dominant at home, where this final game between the teams will take place. The Golden Knights lost seven games in a row on the road before defeating the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday, so it will be tough for them to overcome their road struggles enough to knock down Edmonton.
The Oilers are healthy while the Golden Knights are still playing cap gymnastics since the trade that would’ve sent Evgenii Dadonov to the Ducks was voided. They don’t have the space to bring back key players early for a playoff run, so they will have to make due with what they have, which isn’t a full-strength lineup.
Edmonton Oilers vs Vancouver Canucks – 04/29
The Oilers’ last game of the regular season is against the team they kicked off the season playing, the Canucks. This isn’t a game to watch because the Canucks will be in the mix for a playoff spot but because the Oilers’ season could come down to the last game. The Golden Knights have to make up games to make it interesting, but the Oilers could still be fighting the Kings for home-ice advantage in the first round. Either way, the Oilers will be looking to play hard in this one to give themselves every opportunity to play games in May and beyond.
If you are an Oilers fan, you may feel like every game is a must-see. But not everyone can clear their schedule for every matchup. Get in as many games as you can down the stretch because you never know when the season could come to an abrupt end, and you’re stuck waiting until October to see the team play again.