G40 Game Notes: Oilers Gunning for 11th Consecutive Victory

Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
5 months ago
Extending their winning streak to 11 games won’t come easy tonight for the Edmonton Oilers. They’ve struggled recently vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs. They are 4-8-1 in their last 13 games vs. Toronto, dating back to the 2020-21 season. They went 3-5-1 during the All-Canadian COVID year, lost both games in 2021-22, and split last season’s series, winning 5-2 at home and losing 7-4 in Toronto. The building will be rocking tonight, as Oilers fans and Maple Leafs fans try to match each other’s chants. It makes for a great atmosphere, and while many of these head-to-head matchups in the past have been high-scoring, the Oilers’ 10-game winning streak has been mainly about stingy defence.
— The Oilers have allowed a measly 17 goals during this winning streak, and six of them came in the first two games v. the Rangers and Devils. The Oilers haven’t allowed more than two goals in eight consecutive games. They shutout San Jose, allowed two to LA, Anaheim and Philly, gave up one to Ottawa and Chicago, two to Detroit and held Montreal to one on Saturday. They’ve allowed a league-low 11 goals (1.37/game) over their last eight games. They are learning to win by limiting the opposition, which is what many of them discussed at the end of last year and to start this season. It didn’t happen right away, but over the past two months they’ve been excellent defensively. They are 4th in goals against/game at 2.48 while sitting second in goals scored at 3.89.
— The Oilers are the 26th NHL franchise to win 10 games in a row. The Boston Bruins have done it nine times, followed by Pittsburgh (6), Montreal (5) and Philadelphia four times. The NHL has had 64 streaks of 10+ games, and each win after 10 becomes harder. Only 31 teams won 11 games, 18 teams won 12 in a row, 11 have won 13 straight, six times a team won 14, the 1982 Islanders and 2013 Penguins won 15 games in a row, the 2017 Columbus Blue Jackets won 16 and the 1993 Penguins hold the record with 17 consecutive victories. The Oilers have six games remaining before the Very Good Game (format doesn’t make it a legit All-Star game). They host Toronto and Seattle, then play in Calgary on Saturday, before three home games next week v. Columbus, Chicago and Nashville. It will be difficult to win all six, but going 4-2, 4-1-1 or 5-1 doesn’t seem outrageous.
— It is important to point out that since 2005-06, when the shootout was introduced, we have seen 38 streaks of 10+ wins. The other 26 occurred prior. The SO, combined with 3×3 OT leads to more wins than we saw in previous eras. There was overtime previously but 5×5 produces fewer goals than 3×3. The good news for the Oilers is that 61 of the previous 63 teams who won 10+ consecutive games made the playoffs. Only the 2016-17 Philadelphia Flyers and 2018-19, Buffalo Sabres missed the playoffs. The Flyers missed by seven points while the Sabres missed by 22.
— The Oilers victory in Montreal set a new franchise high for consecutive wins, and they also tied the franchise mark for eight consecutive road wins. They started the season 2-8 on the road, but they are 10-1 since November 24th. Their only loss was against the New York Islanders. They allowed an ugly 47 goals against in their first 10 road games of the season, but they’ve only allowed 18 in their last 11 for a sparkling 1.64 GAA. The Oilers’ ability to limit goals against has been a major reason their road, and overall, winning streaks have stretched to eight and 10 games respectively.
— Connor McDavid is on another 10-game point streak. He has 5-11-16 during the run, but only three multi-point games. He’s had one game with five points, two with two and seven with one. He’s factored in on 16 of the Oilers 39 goals. He’s been consistent but hasn’t had to be outrageously dominant offensively for the Oilers to win. That is a great sign for the Oilers.
— McDavid had a point in all 11 games last January and his point-streak ended at 15 games. It was the 10th streak of 10+ games in his career. Fast forward to today and he now has 14 streaks of 10+ games which moves him into a tie with Mario Lemieux for third most. Guy Lafleur had 15 and Wayne Gretzky leads with 31.
— From January 1st, 2023, to today McDavid has played 81 games and he’s produced five different point-streaks of 10+ games. He started with a 15-gamer (25 points), was held pointless for one game, before an 11-game streak (27 points). He didn’t garner a point during the Oilers victory in Boston on March 9th, but he finished the season on a 16-game point streak (29 points). He had points in 42 of the final 44 games last season. Amazing. He started the season, by his standards, a little slow, battling an injury and he was pointless five times in his first 14 games (the Oilers played 16). Then he scored in 12 straight games (28 points), went pointless in Long Island, and now has his 5th 10+ games point streak in the last 81 games. It is an impressive run, and this point streak (16 points) is his lowest total points of any 10-game streak. He is due to have one of his patented three or four-point games soon.
— The Maple Leafs have allowed 4+ goals 19 times this season. Only Columbus (25), San Jose (24), Ottawa, Tampa Bay (23), Chicago (21), Minnesota, Detroit and NYI (20) have allowed more. Edmonton has had 13 games when allowing four or more goals, and seven of those came in their first 12 games. Entering the season no one questioned the offence of Toronto or Edmonton; the concern was can they improve defensively. Edmonton started poorly, but in their last 27 games they have the 4th best GA/GP at 2.48. Toronto is 16th at 3.07. Edmonton has been good, while Toronto has been decent, but not where they need to be. Winnipeg has been the best defensive team all season allowing only 2.29 GAA. The Jets allowed five, four, five and five goals against in their first four games. In their past 38 games they’ve allowed more than three goals ONCE. They’ve allowed two or fewer goals in 28 of their last 38 games. Crazy.
— For the 4th time in franchise history, the Oilers have allowed two goals or fewer in eight consecutive games.
This is the only time they’ve won all eight games.
— After a terrible first 12 games, the Edmonton Oilers have played very well. They are 21-6 since their ugly loss in San Jose, are 18-3 in their past 21 games and riding a 10-game winning streak. They’ve actually gotten better recently. And the surge has changed the standings immensely. On November 10th, Edmonton was 31st in the NHL, only ahead of San Jose due to the Sharks playing more games. A wildcard berth seemed like best plausible outcome.
VGK1512-2-125.83355-32 (+23)
VAN1310-2-121.80859-26 (+33)
LA138-2-319.73154-36 (+18)
ANA137-614.53840-40 (0)
SEA145-6-313.46438-47 (-9)
CGY134-7-210.38536-46 (-10)
EDM122-9-15.20831-50 (-19)
SJ142-11-15.17917-62 (-45)
Since then, however, the Oilers have been the best team in the NHL. They are playing like the team many expected them to be from the start.
EDM2721-642.778105-67 (+38)
VAN3119-9-341.661109-86 (+23)
CGY3016-11-335.583100-87 (+13)
SEA2914-9-634.58683-74 (+9)
LA2713-9-531.57479-64 (+15)
VGK2913-12-430.51781-87 (-6)
SJ308-20-218.30071-116 (-45)
ANA308-21-117.28370-108 (-38)
— The Oilers have put themselves right back in the hunt for home-ice advantage in the opening round.
They trail LA by three points with one game in hand and they are eight back of Vegas with five games in hand. Vancouver had a 15-point cushion, and even though the Oilers have five games in hand, it would be unlikely they catch the Canucks. Their focus should be on 2nd place in the division and getting home ice for at least one round. They don’t need to win 18 of their next 21 to close the gap, but a strong finish to January will put them even closer, and possibly ahead of LA when they return from the bye week/Very-good Game.
— We started a GoFundMe for Robin Brownlee’s wife Analyn and son Sam. Robin’s sudden passing last week has turned their world upside down and there will be some challenges in the future. Every donation matters and after one day we are at 40% of our goal. Amazing. If you can spare $10, $20 or $100 that would be great. You can donate here.

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