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McLellan: 'We've got so much in front of us'

The Oilers have lots to be happy about but have much more work left to do

by Paul Gazzola /

The Oilers have 26 wins on the season. The team is in the hunt for a playoff position, can win at home or on the road and also boast a positive goal differential.

The team has come a long way but there's still a lengthy road to travel.

When Head Coach Todd McLellan was asked about any pride or satisfaction he's had this campaign, he noted some of his club's accomplishments but equally stressed the tasks ahead.

"When I think about answering it, it's almost like we're at the finish line," McLellan said. "I don't want to be at the finish line. I don't want to talk about finishing because I think we've got so much in front of us."

As the Oilers prepare for opportunities they have not had in years and unfamiliar experiences, McLellan illustrated how the precedent is changing for the organization.

"We had an event last night with the season ticket holders and we talked about uncharted water, new experiences every time we play," the Oilers bench boss started. "It is for this organization. This should be the standard. This should be what happens every year and that's what we're trying to get to, where you're in the mix, you're winning more than you're losing, you have some ups and downs but you're able to keep the downs a little shorter than in the past. Players are evolving and developing. This is what we're trying to create as a standard but I don't think we've done that yet. We still have a lot of work in front of us."

The Oilers are 13-7-5 away from Rogers Place and have a plus-13 goal differential. Those are major reasons for the club's 2016-17 prosperity.

"To pinpoint certain moments, I look at our record on the road as perhaps one of our biggest achievements," said McLellan. "I still go back to the ability to shrink the goals for and against. The only way we even get close to a playoff spot is to get that nearer or in that plus range. To come down from 82 [in years previous] to a positive number is a real feather in the cap to everybody that's involved but the year isn't over."

The Oilers sit third in the Pacific Division with 60 points. The squad will face the two clubs currently ahead of them in the division: the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. 

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