The Oilers have won six straight home games and are 8-2-1 on home ice since October 29th. They haven’t won this often when having last change since 2007/2008 when they were 23-17-1.
The last five seasons they’ve been dreadful on home ice.
Fifteen wins in 41 home games last year.
A paltry 13 home wins in 2014.
Nine wins in 24 games during the lockout.
Fourteen wins in 2012.
A measly 12 home wins in 2010/2011.
During the past decade only two western conference teams have made the playoffs by winning fewer than half their home games: The 2008/2009 Anaheim Ducks were 20-18-3 and the 2005/2006 Oilers were 20-15-6. Both finished eighth in the Western Conference.
At the beginning of the season the Oilers had to improve every facet of their games, and winning on home ice was one of them. The Oilers have outscored their opponents 40-30 in their last eleven home games, and after starting the season 1-3 at home, they seem to have learned how to win in Rexall.
They are far from perfect, or course, but before this team becomes a playoff team they need to improve certain areas of their overall game, and a big one is making Rexall Place a more difficult place for opponents.
Five of their last six home wins came against playoff teams, so they aren’t just beating fellow bottom feeders.
Rarely do good teams lose three games in a row. The OIlers are not a good team yet, but if they want to become an average team they must avoid losing streaks of four or more games.
The Oilers lost their first four games of the season, but they have avoided a four-game skid since. They must find a way to head into the Christmas break with a victory tonight over the Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets’ road games have been the exact opposite of the Oilers. Winnipeg won four of their first five on the road, but they are 2-9-1 in their last twelve, and they only have won road win since November 2nd. They have been outscored 46-25.
The Oilers need to take advantage of a team struggling on the road.
NOMINATE YOUR HOME ICE HERO!
Celebrate the volunteer, parent, coach or organizer who keeps the game going and asks for nothing in return.
Nominate your Home Ice Hero and they could win a prize worth $5,000. Nominate your hero.
- Cam Talbot makes his first home start since he allowed a terrible goal from Michael Frolik late in a 5-4 loss. Talbot was outstanding in Boston last Monday and after Anders Nilsson struggled in Colorardo, Talbot has an opportunity to make a statement tonight.
- Mark Fayne was recalled yesterday and he will play tonight. He was paired with Andrej Sekera this morning, but McLellan said, “Our D pairs will be all over the map tonight, so I wouldn’t put too much stock in the morning skate. If we like a pair we will stick with it.” If Fayne plays well early I think he will stick with Sekera. Fayne has played well in the past, but he admitted he needs to be better.
“It is good to get back where you have a chip on your shoulder. When you are younger in the league you play with that (edge) all the time just because you are unsure (where you stand), and I think when you get comfortable complacency sets in, and you have to get that edge back and never want to go back to the AHL.”
I asked Fayne what the coaching staff told him he needs to improve.
“Overall play. They want me to get back to what got me here. Shutdown forwards and make some more plays offensively. I got away from that this year and my play was sub par. I was hesitating and a little unsure. Confidence can be very fickle, and I just need to go out there and play well. I had some strong games, but I wasn’t consistent enough,” Fayne said.
Fayne was pretty accurate and honest in his self-evaluation. He has proven he can play solid defensively in the past, but he hasn’t done that under McLellan. McLellan admitted he didn’t watch Fayne much when he was in the East, and will only evaluate him on what he has seen. “I believe he has much more to give. I still believe he can make a solid impact for us, and I expect him to,” said McLellan.
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WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
Just a week ago, the Oilers were one of the hottest teams in the NHL. They were riding a six-game winning streak while beating some very good teams, including the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars and New York Rangers.
Since then, they have lost three straight while being outscored 13-3 in the process.
That’s the Oilers we all know and love.
Still, even with the savior of the franchise Connor McDavid out, the Oilers have become a much improved team from last year. They have plenty of weapons that could basically score at will if the Jets decide to fall asleep for even a second.
For the Jets, it’s the first of a mini two-game road trip to Alberta. To get wins are important, but honestly, the Jets need to focus on playing another 60-minute effort again like they did against the Rangers. Start building that consistency in their game, and the wins will take care of themselves.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Many fans will watch expecting the Oilers to be the Jets’ slump buster, but Oilers surprise many with another solid home performance and win 5-2.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: One fan will dress up as Santa Clause.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: On Christmas Eve in Sweden close to 40-50% of people stop and watch Donald Duck. Ever since 1959, at exactly 3 p.m. the TV station TV1 shows a Disney special where Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas. Anton Lander is desperate to change his luck and he didn’t want to wait until Thursday. He got a copy mailed to him and he watched it this afternoon. Lander scores his first goal of the season, and his first in 46 games.
DAY 15: MONTH OF GIVING
A big thank you to Jesse and Jason for their bids on Friday and to Blackhawk Golf Course and restaurant XIX (Nineteen) for their generous donations. We raised $8,100.
- A pair of seats to the Oilers/Flames game on Saturday January 16th in the ATB Newsroom.
- Food and beverages included and seats in row 3. You will watch the game with Jason Gregor.
- $1000 gift Certificate to Michael Anthony Jewellers
- 10 tickets and three parking passes to Oil Kings game in the Crystal Glass suite on January 17th.
- $150 Gift Certificate for Crystal Glass
- A pair of seats in Len Rhodes President suite for the Eskimos home opener in 2016 and banner raising game. Two tickets include all your food and beverage and you will taken to and from the game in the Oilersnation Limo.
Thanks in advance. All proceeds will help out the Christmas Bureau.
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