It’s Oct. 28 and the Edmonton Oilers have a 5-3-1 record — 2-1-1 at home and 3-2 on the road.
They currently have 11 points and sit third in the Pacific Divison.
What’s impressive about this too, is the team has games in hand. Other division opponents in Vancouver (12 GP), San Jose (10 GP), Calgary (11 GP), Anaheim (11 GP) and Vegas (10 GP) all have played more games than Edmonton.
It’s a good sign early on that the team’s record is what it is after a tumultuous first few games to start the year.
The Oilers last six games have all come against 100-point teams from last year, and the Oilers came out with four wins, one loss and an overtime loss.
If you would’ve told me this would be our record through these six-matchups against Winnipeg, Boston, Nashville (x2), Pittsburgh and Washington, I would’ve laughed at you.
Instead, the Oilers have gone through a tough stretch of games and one more than just hold their heads above water.
Connor McDavid is doing things as expected, scoring 16 points through the teams first nine games pushing an incredible 145-point pace early on. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is also having a fine start playing alongside the captain, amassing 12 points in nine games.
Over the past week, McDavid is finally getting some help from other lines as Leon Draisaitl has 10 points, and guys like Tobias Rieder (five assists) and Milan Lucic (one goal, three assists) are contributing in their own right.
That being said, the Oilers bottom six has basically been non-existent when it comes to contributing offensively to the team. Ryan Strome, Kyle Brodziak, Jujhar Khaira and Zack Kassian all have zero points on the year.
Drake Caggiula finally got on the scoreboard Saturday, potting two goals — one of which an empty-net goal.
Edmonton’s goaltending has struggled too as Talbot has a 2.88 GAA and .901 save per centage. Both numbers could be better.
The aforementioned fact that the Oilers have the games in hand while having a lack of bottom-six contribution and goaltender struggles is impressive.
Edmonton’s goals for per cent is only 43 per cent at 5v5 — much lower than the teams expected goals for per centage of 50.5 per cent. On top of that, the team’s PDO is only 97 per cent.
It shows the Oilers have been unlucky thus far and that’s a good sign.
The Oilers schedule begins to lighten up here against a lot of middle of the road teams and it gives the team an opportunity to capitalize and make a strong push up the divisional ladder.
It’s been a strong start to the season and the team has a chance to build on it.
Time to see what they can do.
On Twitter: @zjlaing