Oilers back on the ice, ‘in striking range’ of feat not accomplished in 36 years
The Edmonton Oilers will try to re-stoke the flames of their eight-game hot streak Tuesday night as the team tries to reel in top spot in the Pacific Division.
The Oilers went into their nine-day All-Star Game break with points in eight straight games, putting them just three points behind leader Seattle Kraken.
“We’re making better plays with the puck, which leads to a lot less time in our zone, which leads to a lot less goals against,” forward Leon Draisaitl said Monday.
“It’s obviously all hanging on a rope together so I think we’re playing good hockey right now. Obviously the break came at a not-so-great time for us, but we’re ready to get back at it.”
Just five points separate Seattle, the L.A. Kings, Vegas Golden Knights, Oilers and Calgary Flames in the pacific.
The Oilers are at a relatively soft spot in their schedule with the next five games all against teams currently out of the playoffs.
They start a road trip Tuesday that includes stops in Detroit, Philadelphia, Ottawa and Montreal before returning home for a rematch with the Red Wings next Wednesday.
“That last little bit there, we kinda found our groove a little bit and then we got this nice little mental break but I think we’re still focused,” rookie Dylan Holloway said.
“You definitely can’t look at the standings. Every team in the NHL is a good team, they have incredible players. So if you take a team lightly one night, you’ll probably end up losing.”
Edmonton has not won a division championship since 1986-87. Draisaitl said the Oilers would love to break that streak.
But he added that while the players are aware they’re three points away from the top, they’re also just three points away from falling out of a playoff spot in an incredibly competitive Western Conference.
“We want to be at the top, no doubt about it. We know we’re in striking range, but we’re also in striking range backwards. It’s tight. Lots of teams are in the mix so we gotta buckle up and bring our best game most nights,” Draisaitl said.
The Oilers (28-18-4) faceoff against the Red Wings (21-19-8) in Detroit shortly after 5:30 p.m. MT.
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