Oilers face playoff elimination

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:47 PM ET

It could be over for the Edmonton Oilers tonight.

A loss to the Los Angeles Kings, combined with a victory by the Nashville Predators or St. Louis Blues would eliminate the Oilers from playoff contention.

"We have to win the game," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "There aren't a lot of mathematical scenarios alive if we drop this game tonight. It's critical that we win this game and keep trying to peck away. The one thing we don't want to do is beat ourselves. We've done a lot of that this year and we don't want to do it at this stage."

The Oilers head into tonight's contest (7 p.m.) at Rexall Place, three points back of the Predators for eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Predators host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight. The Blues are also three points up on the Oilers and are currently ninth in the conference standings. They'll visit the Phoenix Coyotes tonight.

"There is still some optimism," said Oilers captain Ethan Moreau. "We'll see what happens tonight, I'm sure everybody will be interested in the out of town scores.

"But we have to beat LA. We know that there are no easy games in this league, they have some really talented forwards. We have to play well, and if we continue to play well like we have in the last couple of games, I think we will win."

The Kings come in to tonight's game, out of playoff contention, and having lost 4-1 the night before in Calgary.

"We have to play an aggressive style of game, they have a lot of threats over there," MacTavish said. "They're good in the offensive zone, they cycle the puck really well, they have some high-skilled guys, they have some guys that take the body, they're really strong.

"They have a lot of mobility on the back end as well.

There's not a lot of experience back there, but there's a lot of mobility, so they have a lot of threats."


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