Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
How did the Edmonton Oilers undefeated January compare to past seasons?
By Zach Laing22 days ago
There is no team hotter in the National Hockey League right now than the Edmonton Oilers.
They’re riding high on a 16-game winning streak dating all the way back to December 21st when they kicked it off with a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Since then, the Oilers have rolled through the league, outscoring their opponents 62-24 and winning a plethora of games in different ways.
So it got me thinking: with all the success this team has had in its 44-year history, how did this January compare to the seasons past?
This January saw the Oilers go undefeated, the only time they had done so in their history. It’s not to say that other seasons past weren’t close, however. The Oilers of the ’80s had some great runs to kick off the calendar year.
The next best January the club had came in 1983-84, going 10-2-1-for a .808 points percentage, and the 1984-85 season wasn’t far behind with an 11-2-2-0 record for a .800 points percentage. The fourth best January came in 1986-87, going 10-2-2-0 for a .786 points percentage.
What’s notable in all of these months is the Oilers’ goal differential, all above +21, a very impressive mark.
Big D, Small O
What helped the Oilers most over this January was their defensive play, allowing a stunningly low 14 goals against in their 11 games, the lowest number hands down. Their goals against per game rate of 1.27, too, is the lowest in franchise history in January for this club.
In terms of goal scoring, however, their number was low compared, and that makes sense given the teams of the 80s. The Oilers scored just 37 goals, for a 3.4 goal per game rate. Their raw goal number clocks are just below their average of 42.8, but right on par with their per-game average of 3.3
Their overall goal differential of +23 was their fourth-best mark, behind the 1984-85 club (+23), the 1986-87 club (+26) and the 1982-83 club (+33).
Years of sorrow
January’s haven’t always been kind to this club, however.
In 2009-10, they had the exact opposite year of this one, losing all 12 of the games they played. Right in the midst of the Decade of Darkness, the Oilers had a horrific month, but still managed to snag two standings points, in thanks to two overtime losses.
That stretch saw the Oilers score just 23 goals, the fourth-fewest while allowing 50 goals against, the 10th fewest in a month. It combined for a goal differential of -27, far and away the worst of any January they had, with their next worst being in 2010-11 at -15.
That season, too, ended up being their second-worst month in terms of standings points, posting a 3-9-1 record for a .269 points percentage. Yech.
Now, in all fairness, those two awful seasons helped the Oilers land Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and it goes without saying the latter of the two is still making his mark on the team today in a big way.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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