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BLOG: Oilers playoff berth a result of phases

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan saw his team grow after enduring a series of stages

by Paul Gazzola /

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Throughout the season, Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan continually considered his squad a 'growth' team.

The nascent Oilers - who punched their playoff ticket Tuesday night with a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings - have battled many obstacles throughout their 2016-17 campaign.

McLellan commented on his squad and the obstacles they've overcome post-game.

"When I look back, we've gone through phases as a team," McLellan began. "The first thing was coming in and trying to establish boundaries and a work ethic. The second thing we tried to do was work on the mental part of the team. Staying in games longer, not folding your hand. Then we tried to reduce the gap between goals for and goals against and while we're doing all of that, we're changing things with our team. Peter (Chiarelli) and his staff have done a tremendous job of re-tooling the team quite quickly.

"Now this year, we've learned lessons as we've gone. We've applied different principles but for the most part, our group has stuck with it and they believe in each other. Now, we've accomplished another task and that was getting back into the playoffs. Believe it or not, 10 years later, that was probably the easy job. The task gets tougher now. I like the fact that our team has been under stress at this time of the year. I think it's been really important for our organization. When I mean we're playing big games, we're playing situations where you have to block shots and win faceoffs and scramble like we did in the last few minutes. We're learning how to play in those situations.

Now, the real lesson begins.

"Anything we do from this point forward is a brand-new experience for us."

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