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G44 Game Notes: Oilers are three wins away from the record

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Jason Gregor
3 months ago
The NHL record for longest winning streak is 17 games, and now that the Oilers are at 14, it is fair to say they have a legitimate chance to tie or break the record. Their next four games are Chicago (tonight), Nashville on Saturday afternoon and then they are in Vegas on February 6th and Anaheim on February 9th. They have a bye week and the NHL’s Very-Good game in Toronto, in between the Nashville and Vegas games.
— Chicago is playing its third game in four nights and is on the second half of a back-to-back after losing 6-2 in Seattle last night. This game sets up very well for the Oilers to become only the fifth team in NHL history to win 15 consecutive games. Blackhawks’ head coach, Luke Richardson, rested his starting goalie, Petr Mrazek, last night, and he will start tonight. Chicago has scored first in both meetings this season, but the Oilers rebounded and won both games. The Oilers’ starts haven’t been great lately, and they need to avoid giving Chicago any reason to stick around in the game. They need to jump on them early and take away their belief.
— The Oilers didn’t skate yesterday, but I’d guess Calvin Pickard starts tonight. Skinner has started the past five games, so starting Pickard makes sense short term and long term. There is zero reason to start Skinner against the 31st-place team tonight. The Oilers recalled Phil Kemp yesterday, so we will see if he draws in the lineup due to an injury, or if it was just precautionary.
Evander Kane scored the game winner v. Columbus and became the 10th Oiler to score a game winner during their 14-game heater. Ryan McLeod has three, Leon Draisaitl scored two while Kane, Evan Bouchard, Warren Foegele, Sam Gagner, Zach Hyman, Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Darnell Nurse each have one. Overall, 14 players have scored at least one goal during this streak. The Oilers have outscored their opponents 54-23. They are averaging 3.86 goals for/game while allowing only 1.86 goals against/game. Their PP is 21.6% and their PK is 93.2%.
Let’s look at the four teams that won 15 consecutive games and see how they did it.
— The 1981-82 New York Islanders were in the middle of a dynasty. They would win their third consecutive Stanley Cup three months after their 15-game winning streak that occurred from January 21st, 1982, to February 20th.
They outscored teams 97-35 during their streak, averaging 6.47 GF/GP and only 2.33 GA. Their PP was 34.4% and their PK was 81%. They had 16 different players score a goal and six scored game winning goals. Mike Bossy led them with 33 points, while Bryan Trottier led them in goals with 19, including six game winners.
Billy Smith was 9-0 with a .925Sv% and 2.09 GAA, while Roland Melanson went 6-0 with a .916Sv% and 2.66 GAA. They finished 1st in the NHL with 118 points. They defeated Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers in six games in rounds one and two, before sweeping Quebec in round three and Vancouver in the Cup Final.
— The 2012-13 Pittsburgh Penguins also won 15 in a row between March 2nd to March 30th, 2013, of the lockout shortened season. They outscored teams 52-26, for an average of 3.47 GF/GP and 1.73 GA/GP. Their PP was 18% and their PK was 82.9%.
They had 13 players with at least one goal and 10 players scored game winners. Sidney Crosby led them with 25 points and Chris Kunitz led them with 11 goals. Evgeni Malkin only played five of the 15 games. Marc-Andre Fleury was 8-0 with a .928Sv% and 1.97 GAA while Tomas Vokoun went 7-0 with a .953Sv% and 1.43 GAA.
They finished second in the league with 72 points after going 36-12 in the regular season. They defeated the Islanders in six and Ottawa in five, before getting swept by Boston in the Conference Finals.
— The 2016-17 Columbus Blue Jackets won 16 straight from November 29th, 2016, to January 3rd, 2017. They outscored teams 62-27, while averaging 3.88 GF/GP and 1.69 GA/GP. Their power play was 28.3% and their penalty kill was 79.6%.
Fifteen players scored a goal and nine players had game winners. Cam Atkinson led them in goals with 10 and points with 18 (Sam Gagner had 16 points). Sergie Bobrovsky was 14-0 with a .941Sv% and 1.69 GAA. Curtis McElhinney was 2-0 with a .950Sv% and 1.85 GAA. Bobrovsky tied the NHL record for most consecutive wins during their run.
They finished the season with a franchise-high 50 wins and fourth-most points in the league with 108. However, the Metropolitan division had three of the top-four teams, and the Blue Jackets finished third in their division and faced Pittsburgh in the opening round. They lost in five to the eventual Stanley Cup champions.
— The 1992-1993 Pittsburgh Penguins own the NHL record at 17 consecutive wins from March 9th to April 10th, 1993. They outscored teams 96-48 and averaged 5.64 GF/GP and 2.82 GA/GP. Their PP was 24% and their PK was 86.3%. Seventeen players scored a goal and eight had game winners. Mario Lemieux led them in goals with 27 and points with 51. Rick Tocchet was second in both with 14 goals and 30 points. Tom Barrasso was 14-0 with a .923Sv% and 2.45 GAA. Ken Wregget was 3-0 with an .849Sv% and 4.32 GAA.
The Pens were coming off back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992 and were a heavy favourite heading into the playoffs. The defeated New Jersey in five in the opening round but lost in overtime in game seven v. the Islanders in round two. The Penguins led the series 3-2, before losing game six and then game seven at home. They actually trailed game seven 3-1 before scoring two goals in a span of 3:13 in the final four minutes of the game. Glenn Healy stood on his head for the Islanders. The Pens outshot them 45-20, but Healy played great and unheralded David Volek scored his first two goals of the playoffs including the OT winner.
— The Oilers are the first team in NHL history to post a win streak of 14-plus games after starting their run outside of a playoff position. They were in 13th place in the Western Conference before their victory in New Jersey. Today they are 10th in the NHL, sixth in the Western Conference and third in the Pacific. They are seven points back of Vegas and Dallas with five and four games in hand respectively, and suddenly have a realistic chance for home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
In Tuesday’s victory over Columbus, Stuart Skinner set the Oilers’ franchise mark with his 11th consecutive win breaking Grant Fuhr’s record of 10, which he set in 1985-86. Skinner is 18-2 in his last 20 starts with a .933Sv% and 1.80 GAA. How come those calling for goalie coach Dustin Schwartz’s head have quieted down? I thought he was the problem. I guess not.
— Last season the Oilers led the NHL in goals averaging 3.96/game. McDavid, Draisaitl, RNH and Hyman combined for 189 goals. Through 43 games, those four have 78 goals (on pace for 148), yet the Oilers are still fifth in goals this season at 3.51, but they have averaged 3.87 in their final 31 games. The Oilers have significantly more balanced scoring this year, and have also reduced their goals against.
— The positive aspect for the Oilers is that McDavid is still generating a lot of chances, they just aren’t going in. If they do, the Oilers will become even more dangerous. He also needs to shoot more. McDavid has 132 shots in 41 games and is on pace for 257, almost 100 fewer shots than the 352 he fired last season. I won’t be surprised to his shots/game total increase in the second half.
— On Sunday there will be a Celebration of Life for our colleague, Robin Brownlee. We created a GoFundMe page for his family, and we are getting closer to our goals. Every dollar counts. If you can spare $15 dollars, for a 15-game winning streak, it adds up quickly. You can donate here. Thanks in advance.

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