Last night’s loss to the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Wild has appeared to put Edmonton Oilers fans on the brink of pushing the panic button. A quick scroll through Oilers Twitter and you will see comments ranging from fire Tippett and Holland to bench Zach Kassian. I know that Oilers fans can be a little intense, but this is the team’s first regulars season losing streak in almost 8 months. There is no reason for concern yet.
The Rest Of The Pacific
If you are worried about having a three-game losing streak and it costing the Edmonton Oilers a playoff spot, every team in the Pacific Division has had at least one three game losing streak.
The Calgary Flames have lost 3 games in a row once so far this season. The losses came against the San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadians and then the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime. This is similar to the Oilers current streak. The first to losses came against teams they should have beat on paper and the final loss was a tougher opponent.
Shortly after this streak ended the Flames went on a 4 game winning streak. They currently sit in first place in the division but they currently have only a slightly better points% than the Oilers. They didn’t make any changes in Calgary during their streak and the Edmonton Oilers shouldn’t either.
The Anaheim Ducks have had two losing streaks of 3 or more. This includes a 6 game losing streak at the start of the season and 3 game losing streak at the end of November. Just like the Flames, the Ducks had a long winning streak that allowed these streaks to not change their spot in the standings significantly.
The 8 game winning streak they had at the start on November helped bank points for the eventual losing streak that did happen. The Edmonton Oilers 9-1 start did the same for them. The Ducks are currently sitting second in the division but have a worse point% than the Oilers.
San Jose Sharks
Of all the teams in the Pacific this is the one that surprised me the most so far this season. I didn’t think the San Jose Sharks were going to be a good team. I thought their veterans were going to slow down too much and they would struggle. The opposite has actually happened and they have been an average team this season.
The Sharks have only had one 3 game losing streak so far. This is tied for the best in the division with the Flames. The difference between the Sharks and the teams above them in the standings is the winning streaks. They have only put together one winning streak longer than 3 games and that was them winning the first 4 games of the season.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights have a fairly similar story to the San Jose Sharks. They have had one 4 game losing streak to start off the season, but since then have only lost back to back games once. On the flip side they have also never won more than 3 games in a row.
The Knights came into this season as Pacific Division favorites. They had a slow start due to major injuries on their team. Since the team has gotten healthy they have played the way you would have expected them to play.
This is something Edmonton Oilers fans need to take a look at. Right now the Edmonton Oilers have lots of injuries on their blue line. Once these players are healthy and back in the lineup they will get better. Missing more than half your starting day defenseman is going to cost you some games.
Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings are 6th in the division and are 8 points out of 3rd. They have the two of longest losing streaks in division and there is still two teams below them in the standings. They had a 6 game losing streak to start the season after they won their first game. Then they won 7 in a row, only to lose the next 5 after that.
This is another example of how a winning streak can make a losing streak hurt less in the standings. If you were told that 24 games into a season that a team had a 6 and 5 game losing streak you would assume they were last in the standings. The points banked during a winning streak have turned the Kings record into an average one even though it shouldn’t be.
For being their first season as a NHL team, the Seattle Kraken have done a decent job of avoiding losing streaks. They have a 4 game skid at the end of October and a 6 game one in mid-November. The reason the Kraken are down in the standing is they do not have a winning streak more than 2 games.
As I noted several times above winning streaks can hide bad streaks. The fact the Kraken are unable to win 3 or more games in a row is where their problem lies. If moving forward they can start to put together a 4 or 5 game winning streak they will start to climb in the standing. If they can’t get streaks going they are going to finish near the bottom.
This is not the season to be a Vancouver Canucks fan. Going into the season many, including myself, thought the Canucks were going to take a step in the right direction and push for a playoff spot. They have done the exact opposite instead.
The Canucks are the worst team in the division. Even though they have the same amount of points as the Seattle Kraken they have played more games. The Canucks record comes down to the ability to stop losing streaks.
They have the most losing streaks of 3 or more games. They have a 3, 5 and a 4 game losing streak. On the flip side just like the Kraken they have not won more than 2 consecutive games. They are a team that was excepted to have success and have had anything but that. They have recently changed up the coaches and management, so we will have to see if a change will help them.
To compare the rest of the division the Edmonton Oilers aren’t doing as bad a many think. The best comparison for them currently I think would be the early season Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights were missing a lot of key pieces when they were on their early-season skid. The same goes for the Oilers right now.
After the current homestand there is a couple games then they head out on a long road trip. On the road trip they play a couple of weaker opponents, it will be a good time to hopefully get a winning streak started and put this current losing streak behind them.
There is no reason for the Edmonton Oiler fan base to be nervous about anything right now. There is a tough stretch of games coming up though. The Oilers need to end this losing streak. If they split the rest of the games on this homestand I would call that a win.