The Barons have been one of the American Hockey League's hottest teams the past six weeks. The only area that's been a little subpar has been the power play.
It wasn't subpar Saturday night.
The Barons scored three second-period power play goals in a 7-3 win over Abbotsford to clinch a playoff berth in front of 4,365 fans at the Cox Convention Center.
“It feels great to get in,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “This year has been a very up and down year, an emotional year. We had so many things going on with the lockout ... We've come a long ways. I'm very proud of the guys. It feels outstanding.”
Eight teams make the playoffs. The Barons are in sixth in the Western Conference. But the standings are so tight, Oklahoma City won't know its seeding or its playoff opponent until after the regular season ends on Sunday.
But the Barons are in. And they're as hot as any team in the league.
“It feels good to get that weight off our back and know we're in,” said Chris VandeVelde, who scored two goals. “Everything is clicking. We have a lot of momentum going into the playoffs. We're rolling.”
Since March 10, Oklahoma City has lost only three games in regulation, going 12-3-3 to charge from 10th place into the playoffs.
Yann Danis has been one of the hottest goaltenders in the league, going 10-2-3 with a 1.77 goals against average and .931 saves percentage since he returned from Edmonton.
Over the past 16 games the Barons have allowed only one power play goal their last 41 times they've been at a man disadvantage, a sizzling 97.6 percent penalty kill clip.
The only thing missing was OKC had scored only three power-play goals its previous 13 games but matched that total in one period in Saturday's playoff-clinching win, including two in the final minutes of the second period.