The Oilers have significantly improved in the past few weeks. Since a 6-2 victory over the Red Wings on November 22nd the Oilers have gone 8-5 scoring 50 goals in 13 games. That is in the top tier of scoring and until I'm proven wrong is the most goals scored by any NHL team in the time period.
Don't believe me?
Tampa has scored 46 goals in that time
Winnipeg has scored 47 goals
Nashvile has scored 46 goals
The Islanders have scored 48
The offense is finally starting to come together. A big part of this has to do with the separation of the three centres. With McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nuge on different lines the Oilers have three lines with high scoring potential. The supporting cast of wingers on those lines are fairly suspect but those three players have been able to drive their individual lines.
The team is starting to become healthy again as well. Sekera should play his first game of the season Thursday night against the Blues. Klefbom has been placed on the IR but that appears to be more to nurse a prior injury than something new. I would not be surprised to see him back in a couple games. Larsson and Talbot have returned as well. Playoffs are a very long way away but the push for them starts right now.
The Oilers currently have a less than 10% chance to make the playoffs. That number goes up and down with every single game. If fans thought that last season was stressful... we may be watching game #82 with white knuckles waiting to see if the Oilers make a Wild Card spot.
The Oilers after 34 games last season had a 17-12-5 record; 39 points. Right now the Oilers are 15-17-2; 32 points. Simple math, for the Oilers to return to the 103 point mark they held last season they need 71 points... more specifically they need probably 30 wins (and some OT losses) in the remaining 48 games. They would need to play much better than last years miracle team performed. That is highly unlikely. Instead of discussing winning the Conference, we need to be discussing how many points they will need to make the playoffs.
Last season 94 was the magic number and was enough for Calgary and Nashville to lock down the Wild Card spots. Aiming for that the Oilers need 62 points in 48 games.
Let's look at the remaining 48 as a series of playoffs. The Oilers are going to play 6 rounds of 8 games apiece. In each of these 8 game series the Oilers need to win at least 5 games. That is still a tall order for a team that has yet to string more than 2 wins in a row together.
This team and management have put this team into a very deep hole and are now slowly trying to claw their way out. This team cannot afford any more slip ups, they cannot be up 2 goals and then lose. Teams that have given themselves a cushion can make those mistakes... these Oilers cannot.
There are plenty of games against the West left to play and the Oilers are going to have to win more than half of them if they hope to make the playoffs. It's going to be a nerve-wracking ride so I would brace yourselves.
Thanks for reading!