|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 21, 2019
Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta Attendance: 18,347
Oilers hope to launch playoff run against Isles
The Edmonton Oilers losing streak is now at five games. They have just one victory in their last dozen outings.
But as the Oilers ready for Thursday's home clash with the New York Islanders, Edmonton is in that spot where positive thoughts are being put forward as much as possible. Sure, it may be false hope, but that's what teams sitting seven points out of a playoff spot with 23 games remaining must do so long as they're not mathematically eliminated from a playoff spot.
"Six of the last seven games, we've played awful well, and we've got to build on that," head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Coming back and tying the game (late) gave us some juice even (Wednesday). There was good spirit, and I know we're going to work (against the Islanders). That's all you can ask. Guys have to pour everything and you hope it turns around and you can get on a run."
"I think if you go back the last four games ... it's been good effort by our team," forward Alex Chiasson added. "We played much better in our d-zone and it's let us have better team play. It's a tough league to win in and we've got to stay positive."
The Oilers were without star captain Connor McDavid due to illness in Tuesday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes, a game in which they forced extra time with a goal in the final seconds.
McDavid wasn't able to practice on Wednesday, so his status for Thursday's clash is up in the air.
"We're hopeful he shows up (for the game) and if not, we got to keep punching ahead," Hitchcock said.
"I texted Connor yesterday, jokingly, and told him maybe if he didn't shake 2,000 hands (on Monday), maybe he wouldn't have gotten sick," Oilers forward Zack Kassian told Postmedia, alluding to the team's fanfest in which McDavid was understandably the center of attention. "We're around a lot of people, around a lot of guys. Once the virus starts going around, you never know who it will hit."
Just like you never know whether a team can get on a hot enough roll for a playoff push.
"In order to keep climbing, you have to get points," forward Sam Gagner said. "(Thursday) is the most important game of the year, in that sense, and you focus on that one, focus on playing the right way. And hopefully you come out with a win and then focus on the next one."
The Metropolitan Division-leading Islanders arrive in Edmonton after dropping a 4-2 clash with the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night, which snapped a two-game winning streak.
"Too many passengers," fumed Islanders head coach Barry Trotz, who gave his squad a "F" grade after the loss.
After a dismal performance in Calgary, it's possible both Andrew Ladd and Thomas Hickey will make their return from injuries.
Even with the defeat, the Islanders are on an 11-3-2 run.
"The beauty of it is we get to wake up and play again tomorrow," Brock Nelson told Newsday.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 21, 2019