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G38 Game Notes: Oilers Look for Ninth-Consecutive Win

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 month ago
For the second time in 29 days the Oilers have an opportunity to tie their franchise record with their ninth consecutive win. On December 14th, they set a franchise high in shots with 57, but Andrei Vasilevskiy put on one of the greatest goaltending performances I’ve seen, and the Oilers lost 7-4. That ended their eight-game losing streak and was the start of a short three-game losing streak, before the Oilers started racking up wins again. They skate into Detroit on another eight-game winning streak and will look to tie the franchise record that was set in 2001 and tied in the final nine games of last season.
It is crazy to think that in the first 3,397 games, the Oilers managed to win nine consecutive games once, but tonight will be the third time in the past 39 games they have a chance to tie that record. It’s bonkers when you think about it.
— The Oilers aren’t just winning games, they are crushing teams. In this eight-game streak they’ve outscored teams 34-14 and 28-11 at 5×5. They are averaging 4.25 goals/game while allowing only 1.75/game. Their penalty kill is 91.7%, and they aren’t relying heavily on their powerplay (19.1%). Stuart Skinner is 6-0 with a .950Sv% and 1.48 GAA, while backup Calvin Pickard is 2-0 with a .911Sv% and 2.50 GAA.
— In their eight-game winning streak from November 24th to December 12th they were even more dominant. They outscored their opponents 38-13 overall and 24-12 at 5×5, while averaging 4.75 goals/game and allowed 1.63. Their PP was 44% and their PK 96.2%. Skinner was 7-0 with a solid .934Sv% and 1.70 GAA, while Pickard was 1-0 with a .962Sv% and 1.02 GAA.
— Rewind to their final nine games of last season when they were 9-0 and outscored teams 39-14 including 22-11 at 5×5. They averaged 4.33 goals/game and allowed 1.56 goals/game. Their PP clicked at 40% and their PK was 92.6%. Skinner was 6-0 with a .952Sv% and 1.50 GAA, while Jack Campbell was 3-0 with a .948Sv% and 1.67 GAA.
— Three separate lengthy winning streaks in a span of 45 games is damn impressive. It makes their ugly 2-9-1 start to this season more confusing, but those 12 games were clearly not the norm for this club. The Edmonton Oilers are good, and you could make the argument they are one of the best teams in the NHL. Over their past 25 games only Winnipeg has a better record, but over the past 19 games Edmonton has the best points% in the NHL at .842, followed by Winnipeg .773 and Vancouver at .714. It is like the Smythe Division has been re-born with three of the top-five teams in the NHL residing in Western Canada like they did in the 1980s with Calgary, Winnipeg and Edmonton.
— If the Oilers were winning ugly regularly, I could understand people being concerned with how they won in Chicago, but they’ve played great overall. That win was an outlier, in terms of not playing great and still winning. They had two goals called back, which would have made it 4-1. Yes, the game was sloppy, and they Oilers struggled passing, but they won. Would you rather they fire 57 shots, play very well, but lose to Tampa Bay, or win in the fashion they did against Chicago? Being worried about how they won v. Chicago, when they’ve played exceptionally well for two months, perplexes me.
— Edmonton has won 16 of its last 19 games. A remarkable run. On November 23rd, after 18 games, the Oilers sat 30th place in points with 11 and P% at .306. Vegas had 30 points in 20 games, Vancouver had 27 in 20 and LA had 25 points in 17 games. Edmonton was 19 back of Vegas, trailed LA by 14 points, and the Kings had a game in hand.
Fast forward to today. Edmonton is 13th in P% at .581 and 20th in points with 43. Only Ottawa (36) has played fewer games than the Oilers (37), which is why they are lower in points. In the past 48 days the Oilers have gained 10 points on the Kings and 11 on Vegas. The Oilers are now four behind LA and eight back of Vegas, with four games in hand on the Golden Knights. The race for second place in the Pacific is on, and the Oilers are in the mix. Vancouver has continued to play well and are 14 points up on the Oilers, although Edmonton has four games in hand. For now, the focus should be on LA and Vegas. Both are within striking distance, and while I don’t expect the Oilers to win 16 of their next 19 games, their schedule sets up nicely for them to gain ground based on how well they are playing.
— Vegas is struggling. They are 2-7 in their last nine games. Yesterday morning Vegas head coach Bruce Cassidy said Adin Hill would return and start v. Colorado, but then they didn’t dress him and started Jiri Patera, as Logan Thompson was ill. No update on Hill’s status, but they’ve missed him. They’ve also missed Shea Theodore and others, as they are banged up. The Oilers won’t make up the games in hand this month, but they can still gain ground on Vegas by racking up wins. Detroit won’t be an easy out, though.
— The Red Wings started the season 5-1, but since then they are 15-15-4. They are 6-9-1 with Patrick Kane in the lineup, but they enter tonight on a three-game winning streak after sweeping San Jose, LA and Anaheim on their recent three-game road trip. They haven’t played since Sunday, so they will be fresh.
— The Wings don’t have an elite scorer, but they have balanced scoring. Alex Debrincat leads them with 38 points in 40 games, while Dylan Larkin has 33 points in 34 games. Kane has 14 points in 16 games. They have 14 players with five or more goals. The Oilers have nine. Detroit is the sixth-highest scoring team in the NHL with 3.55 goals/game. The Oilers are at 3.54 on the season, and 4.00 over the past two months. Detroit’s offence has been consistent all season. They are averaging 3.54 goals/game the past two months. They get scoring across their lineup, and the Oilers need to respect their offence.
— The Wings’ issue has been limiting goals against. They’ve allowed 3.50/game the past two months (26 games) and 3.40 all season. But with Alex Lyon back in the goal, they are hoping their GA will go down. He was in goal for all three wins in California, and in his 12 starts he has an 8-4 record with a .920Sv% and 2.51 GAA. In 17 starts Ville Husso is 9-5-2 with a .893Sv% and 3.53 GAA, while in 10 starts James Reimer has a record of 3-6-2 with a .889Sv% and 3.41 GAA. Are you sure you’d want the Oilers to acquire Reimer to backup Skinner? Are you certain he’d be more reliable than Pickard?
— Pickard will start tonight for the Oilers and that is the only lineup change. I thought we might see Sam Gagner, but it looks like Knoblauch will stick with his winning lineup.

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