When we last checked in on the Oilers they were in 14th place, but even at 5 games under .500 they were only 6 points out of the playoffs. Since then there’s been a few emotional turning points for the team. This includes a couple more gut wrenchingly close losses and a couple more “why haven’t they been relegated yet” blowout losses. Yet it also includes a very recent 6 game winning streak that saw the Oilers beat some teams at the top of the table. They were briefly in a playoff spot and suddenly it seemed like they may have learned how to win. But as proven by their winning streak, a lot can change in 5 days. Two quick losses find them back down in 13th place in the Western Conference. This has people writing them off yet again, saying here we go back to the same old Oilers. This stop in the cellar may be different than the others though because this team might actually understand what it’s like to not be there. Starting tonight against the Avalanche, their next 4 games are against teams 8-11 in the Conference. They’re only 3 games under .500 where a balanced record is currently good enough to make the playoffs and they’re only 3 points back of 7th place. The gap is slowly closing. The problem still remains that they don’t have those two or three core veteran guys who’ve been through the grind of an extended season. What they might have gained this month is the joy of winning. Since the shame of losing clearly hasn’t been enough, that’s all us fans can cling to. These next 8 days against everyone they’re trying to catch will tell us everything we need to know about whether or not this edition is for real. If they win three of four I don’t see why they wouldn’t be in the hunt all the way down the stretch.