Posting a fifth consecutive home win earlier this week, the Barons gained some momentum. Now they face a challenging road trip, three games in three days against the American Hockey League Western Conference's top two teams.
Oklahoma City plays Saturday night in Cedar Park, Texas, and will fly to Charlotte, N.C., for games Sunday and Monday.
“Momentum is the biggest thing,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “If you get that first one Saturday night all of a sudden the weekend looks pretty good. You don't have as much pressure.”
The Barons have climbed back into the playoff race but are in 10th; they're four points out of sixth and two points out of eighth, the final playoff berth.
The Fab Four provided highlights early in the season, but it will be 24 games the final seven weeks that will determine whether the Barons make the postseason for the third consecutive year.
“We can't be fancy,” said veteran defenseman Brett Clark. “When we're successful we compete with teams down low. When we put pucks in deep, a lot of teams have trouble with us. We have a lot of size and cycle the puck really well. We just have to stick to the fundamentals.”
Road wins have been rare after the holidays.
Since Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Justin Schultz and Taylor Hall returned to Edmonton, the Barons have won only one of seven road games but earned a standing point in two shootout losses.
Clark is among four veterans (Jonathan Cheechoo, Darcy Hordichuk and defenseman Randy Jones) that have joined the Barons since the lockout ended.
“The chemistry is there,” Clark said. “As a whole I think we're starting to click together. That's a credit to a good coaching staff that's putting the right systems in place.”