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BLOG: High stakes in final two games of season

Oilers square off against Vancouver in a back-to-back set to conclude regular season

by Marc Ciampa / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers have two games remaining in the season and in terms of where they might end up in the standings, it could still be anywhere from first in the Pacific Division to third with the playoff opponent being one of San Jose, Calgary or Nashville. 

Knowing what they do about how important gaining a single point or four points this weekend might be, however, Mark Letestu was quick to caution that the most important thing for the club is ensuring they're rolling come mid-next week when the puck is dropped for the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We're working on our game. We certainly don't want to give any points away, we want to be feeling as good about our game as possible going into the playoffs," Letestu stated. "We can really only control winning the games here. If Anaheim wins, there's nothing we can do. If they lose, there's an opportunity for us. But if we don't take care of what we control, it doesn't matter.

"We're just creating good habits, making sure our game doesn't get sick along the way."

Goaltender Cam Talbot agreed with Letestu. 

"It's still a big weekend for us. Four big points that we need. We need to play the right way and not let things get away from us."

He was then asked about any possibility there might be that the team could suffer an emotional letdown against a team out of the postseason picture after such a big potential playoff preview win Thursday in San Jose. 

"Sometimes these teams can be just as dangerous. They don't have much to play for right now but with the rivalry they're going to want to bring their A game against us and ruin our chances to win the division."

The Oilers often finish their season against Vancouver and in recent years, the roles have been reversed with Vancouver poised to enter the playoffs and the Oilers playing out the string.

This is, in fact, the sixth consecutive season that the Oilers and Canucks have ended the year as opponents. In each of the last four, the game has taken on an offensive flair with one team or the either scoring four goals or more. 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said that the team needs to keep that in mind and play the right way to ensure it doesn't become a shooting gallery. 

"That's how it's been in the past. We don't want to get into run-and-gun we want to keep playing the way we are and set ourselves up for our playoff run. If it happens, it happens but we don't want to be trading chance for chance.

"They're still going to work hard and want to finish off on a good note. We can't expect an easy game."

 

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