The Montreal Canadiens pushed the Edmonton Oilers to overtime on Monday night to secure the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division.
Oilers captain Connor McDavid, who scored the goal in overtime to give his team a 4-3 victory, said facing a desperate team should benefit the Oilers ahead of the postseason.
"You could definitely get a sense of their desperation," McDavid said post-game. "But that's a great thing for us, to be able to play a team like this with their desperation, with their intensity level tonight. That's how it's going to be moving forward, so that was a good test for us, and good for us to keep our playoff mindset going."
The Oilers have locked up the second spot in the North and could still face Montreal in the first round after the Winnipeg Jets failed to lock up third place on Monday night. The Canadiens would need to defeat Edmonton in their final game and have the Jets lose both of their last two games to finish third.
Montreal could have locked up their playoff spot last week, but lost three straight games in regulation entering Monday's contest to keep both the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks alive. The Habs trailed 3-2 in the third period before Artturi Lehkonen tied the game with less than seven minutes remaining.
"We were pretty confident we were going to clinch this by either this game or the next game," Lehkonen said. "But now that we're done, we've just got to keep building on toward the end of the season."
The Canadiens, who last won on May 3, will look to avoid closing their season on a five-game winless skid against Edmonton on Wednesday.