Underdogs don't care who it is

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:20 AM ET

It's been a while since the Oilers looked forward to the playoffs with a real sense of confidence.

Despite leaving it to the penultimate game of the season and needing help from San Jose to clinch a playoff spot, the Oilers feel they can make a run - and don't care whether it starts in Detroit or Dallas.

"We don't feel inferior anymore, like we might have in the past where we had to trick ourselves into believing that we were able to win," said Oilers forward Ethan Moreau.

"This year, more than any year, we don't really care who we play. We know if our special teams are playing well, and if we get good goaltending, we can win. And we're pretty confident with the bunch of guys we have here."

Much like recent playoff seasons, the Oilers will be underdogs in the first round. Yet this time around, they may have more ammunition. Players like Chris Pronger, Michael Peca and Sergei Samsonov were acquired not just to get the Oilers in the post-season, but also to win playoff games.

"We're a good team and everyone around the league knows that," Moreau said. "We're not inferior to any team - especially in the West ... We know our best is probably going to be good enough."

Now it's just a matter of getting the best out of a team that struggled with inconsistency. Especially considering the number of players that lack playoff experience.

"For me, it's just like every other game - you can't be squeezing your sticks just because it's the playoffs," said Todd Harvey.

"You have to play and do the things you are capable of doing. You can go out and play to your standards and bring what you bring to the table. If you score goals, score goals, if you bang, bang, if you play good defence, do that.

"That's all you ask of your teammates is do what you do best."

- VAN DIEST


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