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G43 Game Notes: Oilers gunning for win #14

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
4 months ago
In the 106-year history of the NHL, there have been 39 different franchises — the current 32 teams as well as the seven franchises that never relocated to another market and folded: The Brooklyn Americans, Cleveland Barons, Hamilton Tigers, Montreal Maroons, Montreal Wanderers, Philadelphia Quakers and St. Louis Eagles. If we go season-by-season, there have been a total of 1,695 different teams to play in the NHL. Only six of them managed to win 14 consecutive games. The 2023-24 Edmonton Oilers are hoping to become the seventh, which would put them in the incredibly small group of 0.004% of NHL teams.
— The Oilers are already one of 12 teams to have won 13 in a row, and tonight they face one of the organizations that is part of the tiny 14-win club. The 2016-17 Columbus Blue Jackets have the second-longest winning streak in NHL history. Between November 29th, 2016, to January 3rd, 2017, they won 16 games in a row. Their last win in the streak was against the Edmonton Oilers. Their quest to tie the NHL record, 17-games, ended with a disappointing 5-0 loss in Washington on January 5th, 2017. It was a magical and unexpected run by the Blue Jackets. In their 16th NHL season, they won 16 in a row. At that point they’d never won a playoff series and only won two playoff games. It was the greatest moment in franchise history, surpassed two years later by their opening round upset series victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
— Sam Gagner was on that Blue Jackets team. He was the fourth line centre, but on their first unit power play. He averaged exactly one point per game during the streak potting seven goals and 16 points.  “It was a pretty unique role to say the least,” said Gagner. “I’ve caught myself reminiscing about that streak a bit now that we are in this one. It is fun to be a part of.” Gagner hasn’t been on the ice as much in this streak due to injury. He suffered a concussion after taking a stick in the face in the opening game of the streak in New Jersey. He missed 10 games before returning for victories over Seattle and Calgary. But like the streak seven years ago, Gagner is once again averaging 1.00 point/game with three points in three games after scoring the game winner in Calgary.
— Gagner is one of seven players with at least one point per game during the streak. I’m including Dylan Holloway, who picked up an assist in his first game of the streak in Calgary, but he and Gagner have contributed when in the lineup. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, Warren Foegele and Ryan McLeod are the others.
— Foegele has 13 points in 13 games, while McLeod has 12 in 12. And all of their points have come 5-on-5. Very impressive. Both have more 5×5 points than Draisaitl and McDavid, who each have 11. This streak has been a major breakout for both, but especially McLeod. He produced 16 points (5×5) in 71 games in 2022 and had 20 in 57 games last season. He had four 5×5 points in his first 29 games this year, but he’s erupted with 12 in his last 12 games. He opened the scoring in Calgary with this beautiful tally.
His confidence is at an all-time high and he’s emerged as an offensive threat the past month.
— When he’s been on the ice at 5×5, McLeod has outscored the opposition 16-3 during this run. He was outscored 10-5 through his first 29 games. He’s playing the best hockey of his career right now.
— The entire Oilers team has been great 5×5 during the streak. They have 16 skaters with a 60GF% or higher. Only Cody Ceci (58.3%), Evander Kane (53%), Adam Erne (50%) and Derek Ryan (33%) are under 60%. Mattias Janmark has played all 13 games and hasn’t been on the ice for one goal against. Brett Kulak has logged a total of 182 minutes in all situations and has only been on the ice for one goal against.
— From December 21st to today, there are 10 players in the NHL who have played at least 150 minutes and only been on the ice for three (or fewer) goals against. The Oilers have four of them in Kulak, Vincent Desharnais and Janmark (2) and Connor Brown (3). The other six are all from different teams in Jakob Silfverberg (0 with ANA), Tomas Tatar (1 with SEA), Michael Eyssimont (2 with TB), Ryan Lomberg (3 in FLA), Jonny Brodzinski (3 with NYR) and Mark Schiefele (3 with WPG).
— The Oilers are winning with exceptional 5×5 play. They lead the NHL in SF% (354-260, 57.6%), GF% (38-18, 67.8%). They’ve allowed a meagre 1.38 goals against/game at 5×5. Limiting goals against 5×5 is a must if you want to win the Cup. Here are the past 10 Stanley Cup winners and their regular season GA/game at 5×5.
2014 LA Kings, 1.25.
2015 Chicago Blackhawks, 1.57.
2016 Pittsburgh Penguins, 1.57.
2017 Pittsburgh Penguins, 1.82.
2018 Washington Capitals, 1.86.
2019 St. Louis Blues, 1.79.
2020 Tampa Bay Lightning, 1.74,
2021 Tampa Bay Lighting, 1.73.
2022 Colorado Avalanche, 1.86.
2023 Vegas Golden Knights, 1.93.
The past few years, GA/game at 5×5 has gone up due to increased offence around the league. The Oilers allowed 31 goals (5×5) in their first 12 games for an average of 2.58. Brutal. However, in their last 30 they’ve allowed 51 (1.61/game). Only Winnipeg and Florida have been stingier at 5×5. Someone should send PK Subban that memo, because clearly, he doesn’t watch Oilers games. His tweet about the Oilers being easy to play against defensively and relying too much on McDavid was so grossly inaccurate it is embarrassing. He exposed himself to let everyone know he doesn’t actually watch the games and does little research to see the data. But I digress.
— The Blue Jackets will be well rested tonight. They’ve only played one game in the past seven days. They lost 4-1 in New Jersey last Thursday. They are 4-5-4 in their last 13 games and have been outscored 52-37. They aren’t a very good team overall, but they are 10th in goals for at 5×5, which is a bit odd considering Johnny Gaudreau leads them with 29 points. The Blue Jackets’ issue is they give up too much 5×5. They’ve allowed the third-most goals 5×5 with 112. And their special teams are bad. They are a combined 94.7% and they are -10 combined.
—The Oilers are now tied for the fifth-best GF-GA differential at +12. They trail Vancouver (+46), Winnipeg (+41), Boston (+28) and Vegas (+13). The Oilers were -12 (19-31) in their first 12 games, but they are +24 (75-51) in their last 30 games. Their terrible start skews the overall numbers because they were so bad in many categories, which is why they were 2-9-1.

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