Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
A look inside the Edmonton Oilers’ record-setting 10-game win streak
By Zach Laing1 month ago
When the Edmonton Oilers beat the New Jersey Devils on December 21st, you could sense something was different.
A big reason why is thanks to the fact the Oilers weren’t playing that great of a game. I mean, sure, they scored two goals in the first five and a half minutes of it, but they also allowed three straight, facing a one-goal deficit heading into the third and final frame.
And if you followed these Oilers for any period of time, you’d know just how ugly it can be for the team. Hell, even earlier in the season you’d see them crumble like a cheap deck of cards, blown over by your cat’s fart.
It took all of two minutes and 22 seconds into the third period for them to not just tie the game at three, but take the lead. Another goal 27 seconds later, and another before the 10 minute mark of the third frame, and the rest was history.
A night later, things felt all too similar. Down 1-0 heading into the third frame, the Oilers appeared no match to the Rangers. Then, the third period happened. Four Oilers goals in 6:45 happened. Edmonton gave up one more to the Rangers on the power play, and a fluky goal with less than a second counted, but it was still a 4-3 win.
Edmonton strung along eight more straight, toppling the San Jose Sharks 5-0, LA Kings 3-2 in the shootout and the Anaheim Ducks 7-2, capping off a California road trip that has caused fits for years. They returned home to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 and the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Back on the road, it was a tenser-than-it-should’ve-been 2-1 win over the Bedardless Chicago Blackhawks, then back-to-back overtime winners against the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens, with 3-2 and 2-1 wins, respectively.
The Oilers, by and large, dominated everyone over this streak, outscoring their opposition 39-17 for a 69.64 percent goal share, second to none who played as many games over that stretch. And while the Oilers scored at will, their defence was nearly impeccable, too, allowing 1.68 goals against per hour, the third lowest rate among all teams with a .939 save percentage. Some great work by Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard over this run.
Offensively, the Oilers got contributions up and down the lineup. The only two regulars who didn’t score a single point over that stretch were Mattias Janmark and James Hamblin.
Offensively, it should be no surprise as to who led the charge upfront. Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins not far behind, have been an exceptional trio for the Oilers.
The second line did some great work, too, as Leon Draisaitl, Ryan McLeod and Warren Foegele found gold together. The Oilers’ bottom six wasn’t very productive, with Evander Kane, Derek Ryan, and Connor Brown struggling. Holland, Knoblauch and co. needs to find a better solution there.
Above all else — how about the performance of Stuart Skinner? 7-0, a .951 save percentage, a 1.41 GAA and a stunning 9.89 goals saved above expected, according to Natural Stat Trick.
A lot went right for this team, who will look to extend their winning streak Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It won’t be easy, as the Leafs will undoubtedly be hungry, on the hunt to snap a three-game losing streak.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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