Eberle, McLellan credit fans for sticking with playoff-bound Oilers
Perry Nelson / USA Today Sports

The longest-serving member of the Edmonton Oilers could not stop smiling after his team clinched a playoff spot for the first time in his career.

That would be Jordan Eberle, who's appeared in 501 regular-season games for the Oilers since being selected in the first round of the 2008 NHL, and who will finally make his postseason debut in a few weeks.

Related: Oilers clinch playoff spot, end longest active drought in NHL

To Eberle's credit, he turned the attention outward following Tuesday's win over the Los Angeles Kings, crediting a fan base that's suffered through a playoff drought that predates even him.

"It's been long years but the best thing is the fans have stuck with it," he said from the bench postgame. "We finally got there this year, now it's finally (clinched) and we can enjoy it."

Head coach Todd McLellan also pointed to Eberle's years of service with the club - as well as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who arrived in 2011 - but echoed the sentiment that the fans deserve recognition for their loyalty.

"There's a couple here who have been here through a lot of pain and couldn't be more excited for the opportunity that lies ahead of them," he said, per the team's website. "Maybe even more importantly, how about our fans? They've been there for 10 years, the rink has been sold out, they've gone through a lot of pain and they've stuck with us. I'm not sure that happens in any other city in the NHL, but it happens here in Edmonton."

The Oilers, of course, haven't appeared in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since advancing to Game 7 of the 2006 Final.

The days of throwing jerseys on the ice in Edmonton are officially over.

Eberle, McLellan credit fans for sticking with playoff-bound Oilers
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