Yup, you read that corny headline right. The Edmonton Oilers are on a bit of a heater, as the cool kids say. I am probably going to jinx them by writing this article, but let’s break down their current situation.
Edmonton Oilers’ Record
The Edmonton Oilers currently sit tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for first place in the Scotia North (Canadian) Division. They are actually sitting in eighth place in the entire league but can jump up to at least fourth place if they win tonight. They have 21 wins and 13 losses for a total of 42 points right now. So, to make the estimated 60ish points it will take to make the playoffs, they only need to win half of their remaining games. Should be easy right? They have won their last three games and seven of their last nine.
Edmonton Oilers’ Scoring
The Oilers easily have the best one-two punch in the National Hockey League. Punch number one is Connor McDavid. There really isn’t much this kid can’t do. He currently leads the NHL in points with 60. He is tied with Auston Matthews for most goals with 21, and he is leading the league in assists with 39.
Punch number two is Leon Draisaitl. Draisaitl is second in points with 50. He is tied for third in goals with 18 and is second in assists with 32. Now, I’m sure most of those points have come while playing on a line together, but I’m sure Connor, Leon, and Oilers fans will take it either way.
Edmonton Oilers’ Defense
If there’s one area the Oilers could tighten up, I would say it’s Defense. A lot of fans praise Darnell Nurse, and I for one, just don’t see it. Sure, he is good for the most part defensively, but too often than not he gives up some bad turnovers and takes too many untimely penalties. That’s just my two cents. Ethan Bear seems to be struggling this season too. In fact, I think it may have something to do with him feeling responsible for losing to the Hawks in the playoffs back in August.
Edmonton Oilers’ Goaltending
Mike Smith turns 39 today. He also has 11 wins in only 15 starts and a not-too-shabby .922 save percentage. His goals-against average could be a bit better in my opinion. He lets in a few goals, but he also faces a lot of shots. He sees more rubber than a gopher on the QE2. Smitty also has two shutouts so far this season. One against the Montreal Canadiens, and the other against the Vancouver Canucks. For the most part, Smith has been pretty damn good and has made some huge saves.
Mikko Koskinen hasn’t been spectacular in his 18 starts. He has won half of them, but he has a goals-against average of 3.10 and a save percentage of .903, which isn’t bad. Koskinen is definitely a great guy to have as a Plan B if anything happens to Smith or his gameplay. Hell, some teams wish they had a number two or even number three goalie.
Edmonton Oilers’ Playoff Chances
As I mentioned above, the Oilers probably only need to win half of their remaining games to make the playoffs. If they do, and they can tighten up their Defense a bit to make life a little easier for Mike Smith, I think they could have a pretty good Stanley Cup run. Coming out of the Scotia North Division may not be too difficult. It’s hard to say what might happen, playing outside the division, since it hasn’t happened and won’t happen all season.
I’m Jason Beisick and I’ll be covering the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers for the Belly Up Hockey team. You can follow me on Twitter as well for general sports talk and likely some trash talk as well.