It’s becoming pretty clear now that if the NHL expanded its playoffs to 28 teams, the Edmonton Oilers would be one those clubs nobody wants in the first round.



After beating Anaheim and Phoenix in their last two games, and pushing the Ducks and Sharks to the brink in a pair of stirring one-goal battles on the road, the Oilers are suddenly giving some of the best teams in the league all they can handle.

And more, as was the case again Sunday night.

“The guys fought incredibly, they blocked shots, they took away rebounds, they fought incredibly in front of me,” said goalie Viktor Fasth, after the Oilers scored three unanswered goals in the second period to beat the Ducks 4-2 at Rexall Place.

“I think we’ve shown, as long as I’ve been here, that the team really fights. We could have laid down and died five games ago, but the guys keep fighting and showing really good spirit here.

“We want to end on a high note and the guys are showing it.”

Despite a wide gap in the standings, the Ducks are 43 points and 12 teams ahead of Edmonton in the Western Conference, the Oilers are 2-1 in their last three meetings.

“It feels really good,” said Justin Schultz. “These teams are fighting for the playoffs and Anaheim is going for a Division title. We’re playing some really good teams and it gives us confidence that we can play with these guys.”

The Ducks, in a furious battle with San Jose for top spot in the Pacific Division, which means not having to play the powerful LA Kings in the first round, had plenty on the line in this one.

Edmonton didn’t, but you’d never know it.

“At this point in the year we owe it to ourselves to battle for each other,” said Boyd Gordon, who took 28 of the game’s 69 faceoffs, going 64%, and turned in 4:36 of PK time.

“The only thing you can control is your effort and how hard you work. We owe it to ourselves to go out there, work as hard as we can and finish strong.”