No team likes their playoff hopes to come down to the final weekend of the season but at least for the Oklahoma City Barons, they hold their destiny in their own hands.
The Edmonton Oilers American Hockey League affiliate has three games remaining in their season, all on home ice. The Barons host the first-place Texas Stars tonight, followed by a two-game series against the Western Conference’s last place Iowa Wild on Friday and Saturday.
OKC is 8th in the West with 79 points, two-points back of the Rochester Americans in 7th. Two teams threaten the Barons as Charlotte and Rockford are tied for 9th with 77 points. However, the Barons have a game-in-hand over each, having played 73 games to their 74.
Three out of a possible six points for the Barons this week will clinch a playoff spot.
THE SCHEDULE AHEAD
The Texas Stars are the hottest team in the AHL, on an 11-0-0-1 streak. They are the top-seed in the conference and should the Barons sneak in as the 8th seed, they’d find themselves playing this very team in the first round. It isn’t all bad news for the Barons however, as the series has been somewhat even as OKC is 4-5-2 against Texas this season.
OKC has also handed the Stars three of their 17 regulation losses, matching the most of any team this season.
Oklahoma City is also on a hot streak with an 18-6-1-4 record dating back to January 30. That is with an injury and call up riddled lineup. They’ve won four straight home games.
The Barons get some help from the schedule gods in their final two games, playing the Wild twice to close out the season. Iowa is last in the Western Conference with 64 points in 73 games. The Barons are 1-1-0-0 against the Wild this season but haven’t played them since October 12-13.
Rochester finishes out their season with a game tonight against Utica (11th in the West) and two games this weekend (Friday and Saturday), a home contest against Syracuse (12th in the East) and an away game in Toronto (3rd in the West).
CHARLOTTE & ROCKFORD
The Checkers are in Milwaukee (5th in the West) on Friday night and finish off the season at Rockford. Before that season-ending showdown with Charlotte, the Rockford Ice Hogs host Chicago (4th in the West).