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You could argue that it was the biggest game in 11 years

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December 30, 2016December 30, 2016Read for 4 minutes Join the conversation The Edmonton Oilers players celebrate a goal as Los Angeles Kings Derek Forbort (24) rolls past during NHL second period action in Edmonton, Alta. On Thursday, December 29, 2016. The Edmonton Oilers players celebrate a goal as Los Angeles Kings Derek Forbort (24) rolls past during NHL second period action in Edmonton, Alta. On Thursday, December 29, 2016.

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You could say it was the biggest game of the year.

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No. Check that out.

You could argue that it was the biggest game in 11 years.

It was December 29th and the Edmonton Oilers took the ice against the Los Angeles Kings, who were in the top playoff position.

And that was the definition of a four-point game.

A win would move Edmonton six points to LA’s wildcard position

If they lost, the gap would be reduced to two points and the Kings would leave town with one game in hand.

Jason Franson / The Canadian Press Jason Franson / The Canadian Press

The Oilers won.

Edmonton was worthy of a 3-1 win with an empty net gate. It was only the second time in their last 21 matches with the Tinsel Town team that the Oilers had won in regular time.

The result should say something one way or another, as the Oilers took a six-day hiatus after an especially tough fight through the toughest part of their schedule this season. The Kings had played in Vancouver the night before and lost.

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The declaration has been made.

Todd McLellan’s team stays at the top of the overall standings and deserves to stay up there.

Since Cam Talbot was great again in goal, it was a team win who played tough hockey and won most of the fights for the puck. Essentially, Edmonton played LA Kings hockey to beat the LA Kings.

“We had goal scorers checking and checkers scoring,” said McLellan, the Oilers’ head coach.

The fact that we didn’t panic at all throughout the game showed that we were on the right track with the belief system

“We played well against the boards against a tough hockey team. I think it was a good team effort tonight, ”he added.

“We knew at the beginning of the year that LA, Anaheim and San Jose were teams to beat,” said Oilers striker Jordan Eberle. “These teams always had our number. These are the teams we have to be successful against.

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“We think we’re a good team here. We are confident that we are a better team. “

“It was a huge two points,” said Oilers striker Milan Lucic. “The fact that we didn’t panic at all throughout the game showed that we were on the right track with the faith.”

Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said the Oilers deserve respect.

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“We played a damn good hockey team in a tough building,” he said. “You have to give the Oilers a lot of credit. If you look at the games, you can see that the Oilers are a good team. “

In the 1980s, Edmonton and Calgary were named “Death Valley” in the NHL because a trip to Alberta for two games against the Oilers and the Flames almost always resulted in two defeats.

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In modern times, Death Valley was in the NHL in the same area as it is on the map – California.

When the Oilers finally make the playoffs in the NHL after a record-breaking 10 seasons from outside, the joy on site will be great. But if this team can’t finish their personal days in Death Valley, they’ll just be another 20 mule team lost in the desert.

To revert to a divisional concept similar to that used by Gretzky and the gang in the ’80s, they’ll have to almost eliminate a Death Valley team in the playoffs if they want to play hockey again in May.

With Edmonton in playoff competition close to the start of the New Year, it’s not difficult to explain the remaining games against the California clubs as not only four-point affairs but also four-star hockey games with special status.

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THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jason Franson THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jason Franson

The Oilers had lost their last six games against Sutter’s 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup winners.

Los Angeles came into play with only one regular loss in their last 20 to Edmonton.

After five straight losses to the Ducks and seven losses in the last nine games, the Oilers stopped the bleeding on December 3 against Anaheim with a 3-2 win in extra time at Rogers Place.

The Oilers have lost three of their last four to the Sharks, including the pre-break game in San Jose.

The Oilers won’t see the Kings again until there are two eight-day LA visits in late March and one visit to Edmonton at the Staples Center in the last week of the regular season. The Oilers have four games left against San Jose, two home and two away. There are still two games to go against Anaheim.

That’s nine more four-star games from the ‘Death Valley Days’ that have to prove themselves before the playoffs.

Biggest game in 11 years?

With their win, the Oilers essentially announced to the hockey world that there would be bigger games right ahead of us.

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