The Edmonton Oilers came into this season as one of the Stanley Cup favorites from the Western Conference. A lot of people picked them.
Once the regular season started, things were horrible for them. They couldn't buy a win and they eventually fired their head coach Jay Woodcroft.
Kris Knoblauch came in as their head coach in Woodcroft's spot and the team has turned it around in a big way.
Here we are in early January, and the Oilers are on fire. They have won seven straight games and sit right on the bubble for the playoffs.
The Edmonton Oilers are one of the best teams in the league again
The bubble is not where they wanted to be in January but they were looking like a lottery team entering December so they have come a long way.
It is hard to jump teams in the NHL but the Oilers started to turn it around just in time. Now, they have a lot to play for as they approach the second half of the season.
Why are the Oilers all the way back? There are a lot of reasons for that. The biggest reason, however, is the play of Connor McDavid. He was a little hurt to start the season and was slow in production for his standards.
Over the last two months though, McDavid has gotten back to being the best player in the league. He is tied for fourth in NHL scoring with William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have 54 points.
It might be tough for McDavid to catch Nikita Kucherov (67 points) or Nathan MacKinnon (65 points) but if anyone can make that kind of a jump, it is McDavid. It wouldn't be surprising at all if he ended up winning the scoring title in the end.
His support system led by Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been very good as of late as well.
Draisaitl and RNH each had 100 points last season so we know how good they can be. Right now, Hyman is tied with Artemi Panarin for third in goals too which is impressive. There is no doubt that this team is loaded with offensive firepower.
Don't expect this team to fall out of the race any time soon. The winning streak will eventually end but they won't go back to what they were in the first month of the season.
When the playoffs begin, nobody will want to be matched up with them. They have lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champions in each of the last two postseasons. Now, they are looking to take that next step.
It is good for the sport to have these guys involved. They are as exciting as any team in the league and should be embraced as such.