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A Four Quarter Look at the Oilers Schedule

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Photo credit:© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
5 months ago
The 2023-24 NHL regular season begins in less than a month, when the puck drops on another NHL season on October 10th in Tampa Bay. The Lightning host Nashville at 3:30 MT, Chicago is in Pittsburgh at 6 p.m. MT and Vegas will raise their Stanley Cup banner while hosting Seattle at 8:30 p.m. MT. The Edmonton Oilers open up their season on the road in Vancouver on October 11th.
It is the first time the Oilers begin the season on the road (in North America) since Connor McDavid made his NHL debut in St. Louis on October 8th, 2015. The Oilers were the “road” team on October 6th, 2018, when they played New Jersey in Gothenburg, Sweden, but since McDavid arrived the Oilers have usually opened the season on home ice. The past four home openers were in Edmonton against Vancouver, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Vancouver, and in 2016 and 2017 the Oilers hosted the Flames.
It is difficult to accurately evaluate each team’s overall strength of schedule. Mainly because we don’t know how well teams will play this season compared to last. For instance, Boston won’t win 65 games this season, but how good will they be? They still have a solid defense core, two very good goalies, and elite forwards in David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand. They won’t be a juggernaut, but I don’t expect them to be roadkill either.
Many, including myself, expect the Oilers to be quite competitive. I envision them finishing first in their division for the first time since 1987. The longest drought in the NHL. But will they finish with 115+ points, 110, 105 or less? Only the regular season knows.
Last week, Leon Draisaitl mentioned the importance of having a good start, so with that in mind, here is a four-quarter look at the Oilers 2023-24 schedule.

First 20 Games…

Games 1-10:      Games 11-20
Oct 11th @ VANNov 6th @ VAN
Oct 14th v. VANNov 9th @ SJ
Oct 17th @ NSHNov 11th @ SEA
Oct 19th @ PHINov 13th v. NYI
Oct 21st v. WPGNov 15th v. SEA
Oct 24th @ MINNov 18th @ TB
Oct 26th v. NYRNov 20th @ FLA
Oct 29th v. CGYNov 22nd @ CAR
Nov 2nd v. DALNov 24th @ WSH
Nov 4th v. NSHNov 26th v. ANA
The Oilers play 11 road games and nine at home.
They don’t play any back-to-back (BTB) games.
Six times they have two days between games, and once they have three.
It is rare to have a four-game road trip with no BTB games.
They play 10 games vs. teams who made the playoffs last season and 10 vs. non-playoff teams, including their first four games of the season.
The toughest travel leg of this quarter is when they play in Nashville and Philadelphia, then fly home for one game v. Winnipeg, out to Minnesota for a game, and then back home to host the New York Rangers.
For your watching schedule they play on the following days: Three games on Mondays, two on Tuesdays, three games on Wednesdays, four Thursday games, once on Friday, five Saturday games, and two on Sunday.
They have a matinee game at home v. NSH on November 4th and a rare Friday 11 a.m. MT start in Washington.

Second Quarter (21 games)…

Games 21-30Games 31-41
Nov 28th v. LVKDec 22nd @ NYR
Nov 30th @ WPGDec 28th @ SJ
Dec 6th v. CARDec 30th @ LA
Dec 8th v. MINDec 31st @ ANA
Dec 10th v. NJJan 2nd v. PHI
Dec 12th v. CHIJan 6th v. OTT
Dec 14th v. TBJan 9th @ CHI
Dec 16th v. FLAJan 11th @ DET
Dec 19th @ NYIJan 13th @ MTL
Dec 21st @ NJJan 16th v. TOR
Jan 18th v. SEA
Edmonton plays 11 times at home and 10 on the road.
They have two sets of BTB, both on the road in New Jersey/New York and LA/ANA. Virtually no travel for those BTB.
They have five days between games twice. A quasi bye-week in early December and then the Christmas break. They have three days between games once and four times they have two days between games.
They have a six-game home stand between December 6th to 16th and then their next six games are on the road: three before the Christmas break and three after.
They play 13 games against teams who made the playoffs last year and eight against non-playoff teams. Ten of the first 11 games this quarter are against playoff teams from last year. That should be, in theory, their toughest 10-game stretch of the season.
They play on the following days: Six on Tuesdays, one on Wednesdays, six Thursday games, two on Fridays, four Saturday games, and two games on Sundays.
They have one matinee game in New Jersey on a Sunday.

Third Quarter…

Games 42-51Games 52-61
Jan 20th @ CGYFeb 19th @ ARI
Jan 23rd v. CBJFeb 21st v. BOS
Jan 25th v. CHIFeb 23rd v. MIN
Jan 27th v. NSHFeb 24th v. CGY
Feb 6th @ LVKFeb 26th v. LA
Feb 9th @ ANAFeb 28th v. STL
Feb 10th @ LAMar 2nd @ SEA
Feb 13th v. DETMar 3rd v. PIT
Feb 15th @ STLMar 5th @ BOS
Feb 17th @ DALMar 7th @ CBJ
The Oilers play 10 home games and 10 on the road.
They have three sets of BTB. One in ANA/LA, then home v. MIN/CGY and in SEA and home to PIT. The first leg is a Saturday, matinee game in SEA, so they will be home at a decent hour and should get a decent sleep.
They have eight days between games once for the all-star break and bye week combined. Four times they have two days between games and a one-day break 12 times.
They face playoff teams eight times and have 12 games v. non-playoff teams. (The longer into the season, the less important last season’s record is when discussing playoff and non-playoff teams).
They play on the following days: Twice on Mondays, four on Tuesdays, two on Wednesdays, three Thursday games, two on Fridays, six on Saturdays, and one on Sunday.
They have a matinee game in Arizona on Family Day, a home afternoon game v. Nashville and two matinee Saturday games in Dallas and Seattle.

Final Quarter (21 games)…

Games 62-71Games 72-82
Mar 9th @ BUFMar 30th v. ANA
Mar 10th @ PITApr 1st @ STL
Mar 13th v. WSHApr 3rd @ DAL
Mar 16th v. COLApr 5th v. COL
Mar 19th v. MTLApr 6th @ CGY
Mar 21st v. BUFApr 10th v. LVK
Mar 23rd @ TORApr 12th v. ARI
Mar 24th @ OTTApr 13th v. VAN
Mar 26th @ WPGApr 15th v. SJ
Mar 28th v. LAApr 17th @ ARI
Apr 18th @ COL
Edmonton plays 10 games on the road and 11 at home.
They have five sets of BTB: One in BUF/PIT, in TOR/OTT, home to COL then in CGY, home to ARI/VAN and on road in ARI/COL. They have three sets of BTB in their final eight games of the season.
They have three days between games once, three times they have two days between, 12 times one day and then five BTB.
They face 13 non-playoff teams from last season and eight games against playoff teams.
They play on the following days: Twice on Mondays, two games on a Tuesday, four on Wednesdays, three Thursday games, two on Fridays, six on Saturdays, and two on a Sunday.
They have a matinee game in Buffalo and a home one with Anaheim.
The final quarter is their toughest stretch of games in a short period of time with 21 games in 43 days. The quality of players, based on last season, should make it a bit easier, but the Oilers would be wise to bank some points early in the season.

SCHEDULE OVERVIEW…

May 14, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers left winger Warren Foegele (37) celebrates a goal on Vegas Golden Knights during the first period in game six of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
The Oilers have 39 games vs. teams who made the playoffs last season and 43 vs. non-playoff teams. This makes sense considering 16 opponents were non-playoff teams, while 15 made the postseason.
They have 10 sets of BTB, but only one really tough one travel-wise, where they play in Colorado and then have to fly home to face Calgary the next night.
They also play 10 games where their opponent is on the second half of back-to-back nights. Eight of those games are at home and two, March 5th in Boston and March 24th in Ottawa, are on the road. The Oilers and Senators both play the night before so travel and fatigue, in theory, should be even.
Here’s a look at how many sets of BTB teams across the NHL have:
16 – New Jersey
15 – Washington
13- Carolina, Minnesota and Ottawa.
12 – Boston, Buffalo, Columbus, NYR, Pittsburgh and San Jose.
11 – Anaheim, Montreal and Vegas.
10 – Chicago, Edmonton, LA, NYI and Toronto.
9 – Arizona, Nashville, Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
8 – Calgary, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Winnipeg.
7 – Florida.
5 – Seattle
The Oilers have four sets of BTB games in their final 26 days of the season. It will be interesting to watch how Jay Woodcroft distributes ice time down the stretch, and where they sit in the standings will likely play a role.
On the season, the Oilers’ daily schedule of games is as follows: Monday (7 games), Tuesday, (14), Wednesday (10), Thursday (16), Friday (7), Saturday (21), and Sunday (7). Edmonton playing 21 Saturday games illustrates how much TV wants them on prime time. As they should. Showcasing Connor McDavid and Draisaitl on National TV makes sense, both in Canada and in the United States.
Their longest road trip is technically six games, but it is three before the Christmas break and three after. They only have one road trip of four games, and that is in November with no BTB games.
They have a four-game homestand three times, one five-game homestand, and one six-game stand.
Overall, I think the Oilers have a decent schedule.

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