Oilers put lessons to test against Kings in 1st post_freckle removal glasgow

Oilers put lessons to test against Kings in 1st post-season meeting since 1992After the Edmonton Oilers fired head coach Dave Tippett on Feb. 10, Jay Woodcroft replaced him, went 26-9-3 and his team will have home-ice advantage in a first-round series against Los Angeles that begins Monday night.

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Forward Derek Ryan praises interim head coach Jay Woodcroft for ability to adapt

Gemma Karstens-Smith · The Canadian Press(Jason Franson/Canadian Press/File)

As the Edmonton Oilers prepare for another playoff run, they're looking to their toughest stretch of the season for strength.

"As much as we want our players to be perfect, our team to be perfect, there are moments that are learning moments throughout a season," said head coach Jay Woodcroft. "As a coaching staff, we want to capitalize on those moments.

"As much as they're sometimes not that much fun to go through, we want to take advantage and make sure we do correct some things."

The Oilers got off to a scorching start to the 2021-22 campaign, winning nine of their first 10 games. But Edmonton stuttered then skidded through December and early January with a brutal 2-11-2 stretch.

Big losses out of the all-star break sealed the fate of head coach Dave Tippett, who was fired Feb. 10. Woodcroft replaced him and the Oilers went 26-9-3 under his guidance.

The new coach has been good at identifying problems and finding solutions, said forward Derek Ryan.

"I think we were searching for that earlier in the year where things weren't going our way and it just felt like we were being told to work harder and be better," he said. "We were just searching for more answers and I think Woody has done a good job of bringing those answers in."

  • MATCHUP: Los Angeles at Edmonton, Monday at 10 p.m. ET

That skill will serve the team well heading into the post-season, Ryan added.

"I think playoffs, specifically, is about adapting, being able to change when the other team changes," he said. "And I think Jay will be really good at that because he's shown it so far during his time here."

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The Oilers and Kings haven't met in the playoffs since 1992 when Wayne Gretzky still played for L.A. Edmonton won that series in six games.

Kings head coach Todd McLellan knows more about the Oilers than most, having served as Edmonton's head coach from 2015 until November 2019. But he said he's not thinking about his personal ties heading into the series.

"I'm just happy that our group is getting the opportunity to gain the experience that we all need," McLellan said. "There's only three players that are going to put the uniform on that have any significant playoff experience and this time of the year can do nothing but improve our program, our organization moving forward."

L.A. will be without at least one key piece after star defenceman Drew Doughty underwent wrist surgery last month. The Kings still managed a 7-4-1 record in April, with a stretch of five straight wins late in the month.

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