G42 Game Notes: Oilers head to Calgary seeking 13th consecutive victory
By Cam Lewis1 month ago
1. Things look very different now than they did ahead of the last Battle of Alberta.
The only meeting between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames so far in 2023-24 was the Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium in late October. The Oilers won by a score of 5-2 to snap a four-game losing streak. It was Edmonton’s second win of the season and it put them at 2-5-1.
After that win for the Oilers came four more losses in a row and the end of Jay Woodcroft’s tenure as the team’s head coach. Kris Knoblauch took over following a three-game trip in November and the Oilers have found their groove.
Since Knoblauch took over, the Oilers have a 22-6-0 record. They approached their longest winning streak in team history with an eight-game heater, dropped three games in a row, and then came back and started a new streak, one that’s reached 12 consecutive victories.
2. The longest winning streak in NHL history came in 1992-93 when the Pittsburgh Penguins, the back-to-back defending Stanley Cup Champions, won 17 games down the stretch in March and April. The Columbus Blue Jackets reached 16 wins in 2016-17 but came one win shy of matching the record. Two teams have managed 15 games in a row, two more reached 14 in a row, and five made it to 13.
The Oilers tied the 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens for the longest winning streak among Canadian teams in league history and they can set a new record on Saturday in Calgary.
3. It hasn’t been quite as notable because very few actually care about the team outside of the context of their role in a geographical rivalry, but the Flames have also turned things around since the Heritage Classic. That loss put Calgary at 2-6-1 for the season, but they’ve gone 19-13-4 since then and now sit within striking distance of a playoff spot.
Might winning a playoff series for the third time in the salary cap era be on the horizon for this team? Probably not, but feel free to alarm me if anything changes.
4. Speaking of changes, the Oilers made a roster move ahead of Saturday’s game, as Dylan Holloway was called up from the American Hockey League. Heading down to Bakersfield will be James Hamblin, which suggests that Holloway will be filling his role as the team’s fourth-line centre.
After his stint on the Long-Term Injured Reserve, the Oilers optioned Holloway to the AHL so that he could work on playing as a pivot with the Condors. The first-round pick from the 2020 draft scored two goals and four points across four games with Bakersfield.
5. Despite some speculation that Calvin Pickard would get the start in Saturday’s Battle of Alberta, the Oilers will again give the nod to Stuart Skinner, who has posted a .946 save percentage across nine starts during Edmonton’s 12-game winning streak.
Skinner started last Saturday’s game in Montreal against the Canadiens along with the team’s two games this week on Tuesday and Thursday, but the Oilers have some softer matchups next week ahead of the All-Star break. They’ll host the Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks, and Nashville Predators before having a week off.
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