Sometimes it really is amazing what a difference a month can make in the world of professional sports. Consider that when January began, the Edmonton Oilers were still flirting around the .500 mark at 18-15-1, despite having demolished the Anaheim Ducks 7-2 on New Year's eve.
At that point the Oilers were admittedly trending in the right direction with five straight wins. However, no one, and we mean no one, would have predicted they would go on to win every single game during January, by going 11-0-0.
Proclaiming such a thing would have been considered audacious, or at the very least extremely bold, which provides a nice little segue into the theme of this article. Here are our three bold Oilers predictions for the month of February:
1) Oilers will set the standard with new win streak record
We appreciate with the Oilers just one game short of tying the Pittsburgh Penguins' all-time winning streak of 17, this may not exactly sound like the boldest of predictions. As such, we better explain ourselves.
What we're predicting, goes beyond the Oilers merely setting a new NHL record for consecutive wins. What we actually mean, is that they stretch out the new winning streak to such an extent, that it will have the chance to stand for many years to come.
Along these lines, consider that the Penguins' record of 17 straight victories has stood for three decades, telling you just how tough such a feat is to achieve. And yes, we appreciate the Oilers could still fall flat on their face when it comes to even equalling the current record in their first game back after the All-Star break.
In this respect, the potential 17th straight win indeed represents a tall challenge for the Oilers, as they will have to achieve it on the road versus the Golden Knights. That would be the same Golden Knights team which dumped them out of the playoffs last season, on their way to winning the first Stanely Cup in franchise history.
Further, we recognise that the Golden Knights have been one of the very best teams on home ice so far in 2023-24, with an outstanding record of 18-5-2. Regardless, it feels like they are there for the taking.
Consider that since mid-December the Golden Knights have struggled for consistency, with a 9-10-1 record in their past 20 games. Over the same stretch the Oilers have gone 17-3-0, including 9-1-0 on their travels.
We're not suggesting the game in Vegas will be a cake walk by any stretch, but the Oilers are in an excellent position to beat the Golden Knights and tie the Penguins' record. And if they can achieve this, the path ahead is clear to then set a new record and run with it, starting with a road match-up versus the lowly Ducks.
Following this, the Oilers would then face a Los Angeles Kings team which has been horrific since the backend of December, with a 3-8-6 record in their past 17 games. The game will also be in Los Angeles, where the Kings are just 8-9-6 on the season.
The Oilers will then return home to meet a Detroit Red Wings team, that while in a playoff position, are not as strong on the road. We could go on, but you get the point; the Oilers need to take advantage of this special and rare opportunity, to set a record which has the potential to last for a long time.