The Barons are one point away from clinching an American Hockey League playoff berth.
Goaltender Yann Danis and the Barons continued their late-season surge with a 1-0 win over Abbotsford on Friday night in front of 4,684 fans at the Cox Convention Center.
Rockford delayed a playoff clinching celebration with a win at San Antonio. But the only way the Barons don't make the playoffs is they would have to lose their final two games, in regulation, and Rockford wins its finale Saturday night at Texas.
Eight teams make the playoffs. With the win, Oklahoma City moved into sixth, leapfrogging Rochester, the only playoff contender that lost Friday night.
Bottom line is the Barons need only one standing point — a win or an overtime or shootout loss.
Oklahoma City closes the regular season Saturday night (Abbotsford) and Sunday afternoon (Houston) at home.
“We're excited about the playoffs, but we're not in, yet,” said Toni Rajala, who scored the game's only goal with 6:39 left. “We have to stay focused and come out and win (Saturday).”
Danis has been on a roll since he returned six weeks ago from Edmonton.
Posting his second shutout of the season, both coming the past week, Danis stopped all 24 shots to improve to 9-3-2 with a 1.68 goals against average and .934 saves percentage since he returned to Oklahoma City.
“It's a cliché, but defense wins games,” Danis said. “That was the case again tonight. I'm playing well. I'm feeling good. But we're not giving up the chances we were earlier in the year. We're doing a great job clearing out front to where I can see the puck.”
The Barons outshot the Heat 31-24, but neither team had excellent scoring chances in what coach Todd Nelson termed an ugly game.
“It was pretty clear Yann was our best player tonight,” Nelson said. “Our guys were struggling with their execution of the game plan and passing and receiving. Simple things. Our skill guys were fighting the puck. But it happens from time to time. We got through it and Yann bailed us out.”