Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.
The Day After 46.0: ‘You forget sometimes how bad you hate losing:’ End of winning streak offers stark reminder for Edmonton Oilers
By Zach Laing14 days ago
Say goodbye to the Oilers’ 16-game winning streak as they busted in Vegas against the Golden Knights.
A third-period goal from the home team put them over the edge, and despite Edmonton having mounted five final-frame comebacks during their run, they couldn’t do so again last night. It was bound to end at some point.
C’est la vie, so they say.
For an Oilers team who suffered their first loss in 49 days, dating all the way back to December 19th, this one offered them a chance at introspection.
“It’s obviously fresh, we’re disappointed we lost tonight,” said Oilers captain Connor McDavid. “It’s been a while since we’ve done that, and you forget sometimes how bad you hate losing.
“It’s a good reminder.”
THE DAY AFTER IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY
It was McDavid led the charge for the Oilers throughout the win streak, leading the team in scoring with 26 points, and he did so again Tuesday night. With eight shots, he made his first one count when, 4:35 into the first period, Leon Draisaitl and McDavid broke free for a shorthanded 2-on-0, with the former feeding the latter for a 1-0 lead.
It was all in thanks to an excellent play at the Oilers’ blueline, where Vincent Desharnais stood tall breaking up a play with his stick wherein the puck found Draisaitl.
And based on McDavid’s play, his aforementioned quote shows his hunger for more wins, and who can blame him. After all, the best feat this team has accomplished is a 2022 trip to the Western Conference Finals, where they were swept in four by the eventual Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche.
The reminder of what it feels to lose will likely serve as an excellent reminder for them, and the truth of the matter is if they continue to put together games like last night, they’ll continue to find ways to win games.
“I liked a lot of things about our game,” said Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch. “Unfortunately, we came up a little short.
“For us, it was missed opportunites. Whether it was goal post, or their goalie coming up big, or missing an empty net, I think the chances were there. There was breakdowns, it wasn’t a perfect game, but overall, I thought the effort was good, and we couldn’t capitalize on our chances.”
The 16-game winning streak doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things for the Oilers. Defenceman Mattias Ekholm said after the game he was actually glad it was over, citing how much noise there started to be around it.
But for as great as the 16-game win streak was in helping the Oilers not only dig themselves out of a hole but reinvigorate the fanbase, too, the club has their sights set on a different set of 16 wins: one in spring, which hopefully ends with them lifting Lord Stanley’s Mug.
“We did an exceptional job. For us to be in a position where we are right now, we have some breathing room right now,” said Knoblauch. “We’re not happy, we’re not content, we want to move up in the standings whether that’s second place in the Pacific, maybe first, who knows what happens with another streak.
“But we want to be playing really good hockey when we go into the playoffs, and right now, I think we’ve been building a pretty good game. There’s things we need to work on, and we will, but I like where we’re going.”
For the Oilers, their wee road trip will continue with the next stop in Southern California for a game on Friday night against the Anaheim Ducks and another on Saturday night against the LA Kings. They’ll return home for a game next Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings, before another three-game jaunt takes them through St. Louis, Dallas, Arizona.
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 email@example.com.
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