Oilers still hanging onto hope

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

Stranger things have happened.

It's not much to cling to, but it's pretty much all the Oilers have left.

They need to go about 27-9-3 in their final 39 games to make the playoffs, which is three shades of impossible judging from the first 43 games.

But stranger things have happened.

So that's where they'll hang their hopes for the next four months.

"It's a long way to come back, but you can't look at that, you have to keep playing," said Tom Gilbert. "Weirder things have happened. When the team here went on that playoff run they were so hard to beat, and it just clicked all of a sudden. "They were playing as a group of 20 regardless of who was on the ice. We just have to find that."

The Oilers went 22-13-2, including playoffs in the spring of 2006. A great run, but even that won't be good enough to dig them out of this.

"It's tough to say right now," said Gilbert Brule, when asked if the playoffs are even a realistic goal. "We could always go on a hot streak and put a bunch of games together, but it's really tough to call that far ahead.

"It's tough to come back when you're 1-8-1 in your last 10 games."

Or 17-22-4 in your first 43.

"There's always a chance," said Sam Gagner. "My first year here we won 14 of our last 18 games and missed by a point. Everybody was writing us off that year, we were way too far out of it to even get close, and we finished a point out."


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