From having a record of 9-12-1 at the end of November to winning 10 games in a row and showing us they are the team we thought they would be, the Edmonton Oilers are right back in the race. They are currently in fourth place in the Pacific, one point behind the Los Angeles Kings as of this post.
The Kings themselves have been slipping, losing eight games in a row. If you would have told anyone around the NHL that the Oilers would be one point behind the Kings on January 14th in October, they would have thought you were crazy based on the type of hockey the team was playing.
Even with their poor play, a team that possesses Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl would not maintain that level of poor play. McDavid was dealing with some injuries early on and Draisaitl just was not himself.
Stuart Skinner's turnaround for the Edmonton Oilers has been huge.
Skinner started off the season in October with an awful .863 save percentage in 5 games. Being a goalie is one of if not the toughest positions to play in the sport, and you have to be mentally strong and on your feet. To show how off Skinner was early in the season, here is a video clip of the October 21st contest between the Jets:
As you can see from the clip, he tried to play aggressive on the puck, when he should have just stayed in the crease. Watching this play makes me think Skinner was trying to be too perfect early on instead of just making the simple play. This was probably the case for the entire Oilers team.
In November, he was slightly better but still not great. His save percentage went up to .888, and the highlight of his November was a 5-0 shutout win against the Capitols on November 24th. He still had a few blowup games, but it was not nearly as bad as his October start.
In December and so far January he has been lights out. In eight games in December he was 6-2-0 with a .915 save percentage. In four starts in 2024, he has been dominant, flexing a .957 save percentage and has allowed five goals in four games.
The new look Oilers are fun to watch, and Skinner's resurgence has been key in that.
Key Contributors Stats During the Winning Streak
1) Connor McDavid: 5 goals, 11 assists, 16 points.
2) Leon Draisaitl: 7 goals, 4 assists, 11 points
3) Zach Hyman: 8 goals, 4 assists, 12 points.
These are the Oilers big players, and they are coming through right now. Hopefully this continues for them, because they are fun to watch.