• Vintage Hockey League
  • Day 162Game 973
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  • Day 165Game 992
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s15 - Playoffs!?! [WB10]

2020-06-29

With the current VHL season sitting with just 24 days left and winding down to a close, eyes are quickly shifting to potential first round playoff matchups, as teams begin sizing up their opponents. With 3 teams currently clinched in the west, and 2 in the east, most playoff spots are a certain. In the West, you could potentially see the Jets challenge the Blackhawks for the last spot, however the rest of the conference seems to be pretty locked in. In the East, we are seeing potentially 3 teams battle it out for the final 2 spots, Boston, Tampa, and Philly, but again, rest of the conference is pretty much a lock. Where this situation leaves us over the final 11 games of the season: jockeying for position to determine 1st round matchups, and what will be the biggest one?

For some fans, specifically those in the West, the potential of a Wild vs Oilers series would be fascinating. Now, before fans get their hopes up, the chances of this first round matchup is a long shot. Almost everything would have to go right for the Blackhawks or even Jets, and at the same time, almost everything would have to go wrong for the Wild, or the Oilers will need to drop down a couple spots in the standings, though they are currently ahead in 1st place by 2 points with a game in hand. The Wild are the defending cup champs in the VHL, and the teams have met each other 3 playoffs straight, twice going to a game 7, with the Wild coming out on top two of those times. Both times the Wild have went through the Oilers, they found themselves in the Cup finals.

In the 2002 Playoffs, the teams didn’t meet each other until the Conference Finals, with the Wild coming out with a thrilling game 7 victory. Though the series went the distance, the games weren’t necessarily all that close, as only one game the whole series was decided by just one goal, with that being in Game 1. The Wild also almost blew a 3-1 lead, by dropping back to back shutouts in games 5 and 6. They would go on to lose in the cup final this year.

In the 2003 Playoffs, the teams would meet in the first round, with the Oilers coming out on top here in a 6 game series. The Oilers jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in commanding fashion the first 3 games, winning all games by 2 goals or more. The final 3 games were all one goal games, with the Wild winning the next two and getting slightly hopeful they could pull off the reverse sweep, however the Oil were able to bounce back in game 6 and wrap things up. The Oilers would go on to lose in the Conference finals.

In the 2004 Playoffs, the teams met in the Conference semis, again going the distance and needing the 7th game. 3 games in this series again were decided by one goal, and the Oilers managed to blow 2 separate series leads after going up both 1-0 and 3-2 in the series at two separate points, and eventually dropped game 7 4-3. The Wild would go on to win the cup this season.

The saying goes, to be the best you have to beat the best. Every season they have played, the Oilers have been the higher seeded team, and this season will be no different, as the Oilers look to again be the #1 seed in the West. Both times the Wild have managed to get past the Oilers, they found themselves in the cup finals, so it seems the Wild may just have their fingers crossed and hoping to draw the Oilers in round one to get them out of the way early. Another interesting note about the Oilers: 5 of the last 6 seasons, the Western Conference representatives in the finals have had to go through the Oilers. The only season they didn’t is the season that the Oilers didn’t even make the playoffs.

 

WC: 685