While the Oilers solidify their last place standing, and once again up their chances at that first overall draft pick, there still remains a silver lining to the current season. Seven players now on the active rosters for the Oilers began their season in Oklahoma City in early October. Through injuries the fans in Edmonton have witnessed first-hand the importance of having a productive farm team. And for the Oklahoma CIty Barons, their magic number is set at six.
With the final three games approaching quickly for the Barons, they currently find themselves just inside the playoff picture with a fifth place spot in the Western Division, but have more standing points than the fourth place Abbotsford Heat in the north. They'd essentially crossover, and play the first place team in the North Division under the AHL playoff bracketing. This would have them face-off against the Hamilton Bulldogs in the first round.
But prone to change are the standings almost nightly, so for the Barons the focus is on the number six. Win the final three games, earn all six points, and the team is a lock for the playoffs. This, of course, isn't the only way the Barons could get in, and it might not be the most simple, but it certainly would give this fan less heart palpitations.
Their final opponents will be tough; San Antonio on Friday, Texas on Saturday, Houston on Sunday. The "make or break", "do or die" moment will come Friday. By beating San Antonio head-to-head they'll be in good shape to secure a playoff berth the following day when they meet the Texas Stars who'll have had a chance to secure a spot the night before. Of course, the Chicago Wolves, who are right on their heels, would help the Barons cause by losing to Peoria or Rockford this weekend.
According to Sports Club Stats, the Barons have a 48.8% chance of making the playoffs. This is higher than any other team attempting to catch them (Chicago 40%; San Antonio 23.6%). However, the embraced mantra has now become win and you're in, and for the final push that winning number is six.