As it sits right now, the Oilers are five points back of the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. If they want to get back into the thick of the playoff race they’ll need to start putting together some winning streaks.
I decided to look back at last season and found the lengthy streaks that the team had put together:
(Oct.18-Oct.28) 5 game WINNING streak (CAR, STL, WPG, WSH, VAN)
(Nov.8-Nov.17) 5 game LOSING streak (PIT, DAL, NYR, ANA, LAK)
(Dec.4-Dec.9) 4 game LOSING streak (MIN, BUF, PHI, MIN) *3 came in OT/SO
(Jan.12-Jan.18) 4 game WINNING streak (NJD, CAL, ARI, FLA) *3 came in OT/SO
(Mar.14-Mar.20) 4 game WINNING streak (DAL, BOS, VAN, LAK)
(Mar.23-Apr.1) 5 game WINNING streak (COL, COL, LAK, SJS, ANA) *1 came in OT/SO
The team also finished 2016/17 with eight different 3-game winning streaks and six different 3-game losing skids.
In fact, there were only two occasions last season where a win was sandwiched between two losses. When they won, they almost always won in bunches. The same for when they lost. Out of their 26 losses, only eight weren’t a part of back-to-back losses or a losing streak (3+ consecutive).
There were six lengthy streaks put together by this team, as I listed above, and as it sits right now they have one four game losing skid in the 2017-18 season. Everyone likes to sit and look back on last years team as one that came out and got off to an incredibly hot start and then walked into a playoff spot, but that’s simply not true.
This team won their way into the playoffs with an incredible 14-5-1 run over their last 20 games. That’s just under a third of their final points (103) in the final quarter of their season.
The 7-1-0 start was great, but the reality is that after their first 18 games last year, this team was barely .500 (9-8-1). While they would need a 4-0-0 run to match that pace this year, there’s still plenty of time left in the season for the Oilers to go on some four or five-game heaters.
I know it sounds like I’m “drinking the kool-aid” or wearing my “Oilers coloured glasses” the reality is that they have the best player in the world, a top flight goaltender, and once Andrej Sekera comes back, their defensive core will look much better. They have too much talent to be a team sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference.
The bottom line, this Oilers team is a streaky group. They win in bunches and lose in bunches. That could be a result of their youth and inexperience, or it could just be the way they are. Are there holes in the lineup? Absolutely, this team is not a Cup contender and I think everyone knows that. But this is a group that could easily win three, four, five, even six in a row and completely change the perspective on their season.