Home > Edmonton Oilers > Beware of the December winning streak

Beware of the December winning streak

At times I almost forget that last years 30th overall Oilers club wasn’t among the NHLs bottom feeders from day one of the season. In fact for the first couple of months of the year the Oilers were in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. And fueled by an impressive five game road winning streak they were actually two games above the 0.500 mark – well the pseudo NHL version of 0.500 anyway – with a 15-13-4 record on December 15.

But as soon as the team got back from that road trip things went from okay to terrible in a hurry. The Oilers dropped their next seven games before posting a win against the mighty Maple Leafs on December 30th. To prove that the seven losses before that game weren’t a fluke the Oilers would manage to lose their next 13 games and not win a single game in the month of January. All told it would take the Oilers 28 games to match the 10 points that they got on that 5 game road trip.

Fast forward to this year and the Oilers once again go on a nice little run through their last game in November and into early December putting together a 5-0-1 record. And, like last year, the Oilers were again approaching the pseudo 0.500 mark with an 11-12-5 record. There was an excited buzz around town. Taylor Hall talked about this team making the playoffs. Tom Renney started talking about the playoffs. There was discussion on local talk radio that the Oilers could play themselves right out of a lottery pick in next years draft and would that be good for the rebuild.

And then, just as quickly as things started took rosy, the wheels came off and the Oilers lost seven straight. Sound familiar? And just like last year another of the NHLs worst teams comes to Edmonton to help them avoid an eighth straight loss. Tonight the Islanders will be playing the part of last years Leafs. A win would probably be a good idea tonight because the schedule ahead includes five very tough road games. A trip the Oilers could easily go 0-for-5 on.

But this years Oilers are certainly not last years club. Will they lose more games than they win? Yes. Will they be in the draft lottery at the end of the season? It’s not a certainty but I’d say there is a better than 50/50 chance. The biggest difference is optimism. Last year was none, at least this year we’ve got something to be excited about. Optimism aside though, I’ll be cheering for some losses when the calendars turn from November to December 2011.

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