The Edmonton Oilers are closing in on a playoff spot
2 months ago
The Oilers are coming, the Oilers are coming!
On November 9, 2023, the Oilers had a 2-9-1 record with five points, tied with the San Jose Sharks for the fewest in the league. Fast forward nearly two months to January 3, 2024, and the Oilers are just a single point out of a playoff spot with a game in hand.
The biggest change is the fact that they just started to play to their potential. Connor McDavid had a rough start to his season, mainly due to injury. Moreover, goaltending has stabilized since November 11, the day the team started to climb out of the hole they dug themselves in. Since that date, Stuart Skinner has a 14-4-0 record in 18 games played, posting a .918 save percentage and facing 471 shots.
Last January was the same month that the Oilers turned around their season. Looking back to January 10, 2023, the Oilers sat at 21-18-3 with 45 points and were in a similar position to which they are currently. On the 9th of January, the Oilers were humiliated by the Los Angeles Kings, losing 6-3 where Zach Hyman, Klim Kostin and Jesse Puljujärvi all picked up fights.
However, it seemed to spark the Oilers, as they went 29-5-6 over their remaining 40 games. Trading for Mattias Ekholm certainly didn’t hurt their run either, and perhaps we’ll see another “cup or bust” move from Ken Holland in his final season.
Like last season, the Oilers will have a chance to make up some serious ground in January. In their remaining ten games, only two more teams (Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings) have more points as of January 3. Not only that, but the Leaf’s goaltender situation is precarious, to say the least, and the Red Wings had a tough December… trust me, I watched nearly every game.
Aside from those two teams, the Oilers will face the likes of the Ottawa Senators, Chicago Black Hawks, Montreal Canadiens, Seattle Kraken, Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Nashville Predators.
With more than half the season remaining, the Oilers look unstoppable, as they’re 17-6-0 in their last 23 games, with their first-time head coach Kris Knoblauch posting a 16-6-0 record since taking over for Jay Woodcroft. With an easy upcoming schedule, the Oilers have a realistic opportunity to potentially move into third place in the Pacific Division if all goes well, as they sit six points back of the Kings, who have a game in hand.
With all that being said, things in the mirror are closer than they appear, and the Oilers are back in this race, baby.
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