Getting ready for the playoffs

Evidently the WHL schedule maker wanted to bookend the Red Deer Rebels season with home-and-homes against the Edmonton Oil Kings. It’s all but certain the Rebels will finish in second in the Central Division and meet the Calgary Hitmen in the first round of the playoffs.

Evidently the WHL schedule maker wanted to bookend the Red Deer Rebels season with home-and-homes against the Edmonton Oil Kings.

It’s all but certain the Rebels will finish in second in the Central Division and meet the Calgary Hitmen in the first round of the playoffs.

But before then, the Rebels have two games to get tuned up for a gruelling post season run.

Their season will end the way it began, with a home-and-home series against the Edmonton Oil Kings.

The Rebels won both of those games 4-1 and 3-2 back in September.

In the time between, the Oil Kings won once in Red Deer, back on Dec. 28. The day before, the Rebels won 5-4. The Rebels lead the season series 3-1 with two of those wins happening in overtime.

The next week is a ‘get-right’ time for the Rebels as they tune up for their first round opponent.

“We have two games left and we have to get ready for playoffs,” said Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter. “Hopefully we have the push we need come playoff time.”

For the Oil Kings, they are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot, two points up on the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Oil Kings have a record of 29-34-6-1.

The Oil Kings are coming off a tough loss on the road against the Kootenay Ice, 2-0 on Tuesday.

Brett Pollock, a Calgary Flames prospect, leads the Oil Kings in scoring with 28 goals and 75 points. Lane Bauer is second with 29 goals and 65 points.

Sutter said the focus over the next two weeks is on the playoffs and getting the guys ready for the grind.

“We have to stay ready for playoffs,” said Sutter. “We can’t let bad habits fall into our game.”

The home-and-home series starts tonight in Edmonton at Rexall Place. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.The two will close out the season on Saturday in Red Deer, puck drop then is also at 7 p.m.

Notes: Oil Kings goalies Patrick Dea and Alec Dillon, forwards Kole Gable and Kobe Moher and defenceman Ben Carroll are all listed on the injury report … The Oil Kings have the sixth ranked power play at 22.6 per cent while the Rebels power play is 11th in the league at 21.6 per cent … Oil Kings are the 16th best penalty killers at 77.8 per cent. The Rebels are 19th in the league at 76.8 per cent.

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