Those pesky Vegas Golden Knights strike again, and end the unbelievable Edmonton Oilers winning streak at 16 games. This ties them for second with, you guessed it, the Columbus Blue Jackets. The 2016-17 team under John Tortorella played a stingy defensive game, finishing second that year in fewest goals against (195). Furthermore, the wining streak record itself still stands alone with the 1992-93 edition of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Does the Winning Streak Put the Edmonton Oilers Among the All-Time Teams?
Along with the great players on their team, this begins to put them in discussion for one of the great teams. The 1976-77, eight-loss, Montreal Canadiens had a couple of very impressive undefeated streaks. One of 18 and another of 21 games, but of course, had some ties thrown in there. Furthermore, their longest winning streaks were two of eight games apiece. Moreover, they concluded that campaign with a Stanley Cup their second of what would be four consecutive. Another very notable streak was the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers team that started the season unbeaten in an outstanding 35 games. However, again, they had ties, ten of them, thrown in the mix.
The Team They’re Tied With: 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins
The team that the Edmonton Oilers failed to tie with this winning streak is the 1992-93 Penguins. The Penguins were a wagon and came into the season as back-to-back Cup champs. Super Mario Lemieux smashed the rest of the competition with 160 points in 60 games. In addition, three other teammates had 100 points or more. And, Jaromir Jagr wasn’t one of them, ‘only’ totaling 94 that season. The team had five hall-of-farmers, and again, Jagr isn’t one of them, given his playing status is still ineligible. Now the team never did win the cup in 1993, as they came up against a gritty New York Islanders team in the playoffs. However, there was no denying the greatness of their squad.
How Did They Get Here?
Now, fast-forward to the 2023-24 Edmonton Oilers, and their remarkable 16-game winning streak. This is a team marred with adversity. They possess two of the greatest players in the league right now, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. McDavid has won the Art Ross as the league’s top-scorer five times, through eight years. Also, his rookie season is tough to include in that ratio as he was injured, only appearing in 45 games that year. Furthermore, McDavid has been on fire this year. Since a November three game pointless streak, he has been unstoppable. He has since only been held pointless three times. Over those 33 games, he has 19 goals and 39 assists. Additionally, for Draisaitl, his PPG has been 1.27 or above in each of the past six seasons, including this year. In contrast, where the adversity comes in, and despite their individual accolades, they are yet to hoist a cup.
Adversity Makes You Stronger
Overall this has been a very hot team. After starting the season poorly at 3-9-1, and firing their head coach, they have since taken off. After that time, under Head Coach Kris Knoblauch, their 26-7 record is good for a winning percentage of .788. They have found consistency in net, with Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard supporting .910 and .915 SV%, respectively. Until last night’s loss, Skinner had his own 12 game winning streak. Over that span he had an incredible .950 SV%. He even extended his streak of allowing two goals or less to 12 games as the Knights third goal was of the empty net variety. Now with the winning streak behind the club, they can focus on the future and the main goals. For this season, with the winning streak, the superstar power on the roster, the time is now. Anything less than ending the 2023-24 season with a victory in June, you have to believe will be seen as a disappointment.
Main photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports