The Sked Ahead: Soft February gives the Oilers a prime opportunity to continue climbing
By Cam Lewis9 months ago
Welcome to February!
The Edmonton Oilers had a huge month in January, going 8-2-2 and pulling themselves to within striking distance of the top spot in the Pacific Division. They’re now at the All-Star break having registered at least a point in each of their last eight games, with their most recent regulation loss coming on January 9 in Los Angeles.
Next up, the Oilers will head into February with a schedule that offers them a prime opportunity to continue to climb up the standings. They’ll play 11 games in total and only two of them are against teams that are higher than they are in the standings at the time of writing.
- Four games on the road against the Red Wings, Flyers, Senators, and Canadiens.
The Oilers will come out of the All-Star break with a four-game Eastern Conference road trip against non-playoff teams. They’ll start in Detroit on Tuesday, head to Philadelphia on Thursday, and then they’ll finish things off with a back-to-back in Ottawa and Montreal on Friday and Saturday.
You’d like to see the Oilers sweep this trip but winning four road games over the course of six nights isn’t an easy task.
- Two games at home against the Red Wings and Rangers.
The Oilers get a couple of days off after that back-to-back and then they’ll get back in action when they host the Red Wings. After the game against Detroit, the Oilers will see their first playoff-calibre opponent of the month when they host the Rangers. Edmonton won their other meeting with the Rangers in New York back in November by a score of 4-3.
- A road game against the Avs, a home game against the Flyers, two road games against the Penguins and Blue Jackets, and a home game against the Bruins.
The schedule starts to get tougher in the latter part of March as the Oilers bounce all over the map while facing some strong teams.
First, they hit the road to play the Avs in Colorado, then they head home to play the Flyers a couple of nights later, then they go back on the road to play in Pittsburgh and Columbus, and, finally, they return home to host the mighty Bruins. On a positive note, the Avs are in St. Louis the night before they host the Oilers and the Flyers are in Calgary the night before they come to Edmonton.
- What does it all mean?
My hope for their Pacific Division-heavy month of January was that the Oilers would win eight games and they did exactly that. They’re now right in the mix at the top of the division and February offers them an opportunity to jump into first place.
There’s no such thing as an automatic win in the NHL, especially when you’re walking into somebody else’s home arena, but there are a lot of teams on the upcoming schedule that the Oilers should beat. Winning eight of 11 games in February should be the goal.
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