The Edmonton Oilers entered the NHL in the same year I entered the world. As a lifelong fan I was spoiled early on by their exciting brand of speed and attack. One thing I’ve always loved about them is through all the coaching changes and highs and lows, for better or worse they’ve always maintained a type of run and gun risky style of play. Over the last few dismal seasons the Oilers find themselves once again saturated with highly skilled offensive talent. If the start of the year is any indication the addition of number one pick Connor McDavid just may be the final piece of the playoff puzzle. He’s created a little bit of swagger that’s been sorely lacking in Edmonton and even with him out of the lineup with a broken collarbone the opposition is finally starting to see that they’ll now have to play at least 40 solid minutes to walk away with a win. After playing one fifth of the NHL season the Edmonton Oilers sit just 6 points out of a Wild Card entry in their bid to end their 9 year playoff drought. They’re only 4 points out of top 20 in the league, and need just 4 wins (and 4 Kings losses) to tie LA for top spot in the Pacific Division.
But for some reason most analysts have already counted the Oilers out and no one can be sure why. If I had to guess I suppose it would probably be because they currently occupy last place in the Pacific and 29th place overall out of 30 teams. Yet with 67 games to go this group of seasoned youngsters has plenty of time to prove everyone wrong. As the Indianapolis Colts have shown us, you’re only as bad as the teams in your own division and Edmonton currently boasts a 3-3 record vs. divisional opponents. With an overall record of 6-11 that means only 27% of their season losses have come from within the division compared to 50% of their season wins. There’s plenty of reason for optimism here.
After all, Anaheim came into this season as a Cup favourite, but the Oilers just beat them two games ago and are only two points behind them in the standings.
Tonight the Western Conference 14th placed Oil will most likely pick up two points in LA and be tied with those cup favourite Ducks for a respectable 12th place in the Western Conference, two places closer to their ultimate goal: Chase the Eighth.